Dewonkify – Furlough

The Word: Furlough

Definition: Temporary unpaid leave

Used In A Sentence: “Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says Pentagon and administration lawyers are looking for ways to expand the number of Defense Department civilians who are exempt from furloughs, amid worries that the government shutdown is damaging U.S. credibility among its international allies.” From “Hagel: Pentagon looking to exempt more workers from shutdown furloughs,” by the Associated Press, published in the Washington Post, Tuesday, October 1

Why It’s Relevant: During a federal government shutdown, all “nonessential” workers are furloughed. These workers are essentially on unpaid leave for the duration of the shutdown. Additionally, earlier this year, many federal agencies furloughed some of their staff a few days during the year as part of cost-cutting measures following the implementation of sequestration (across-the-board federal funding cuts contained in the Budget Control Act). While on furlough, federal employees are not able to “volunteer” to work for the government and even checking their work e-mail is a violation of federal law.  Some parts of the federal government and some employees are not affected by a shutdown because they are supported by funding not tied to the annual appropriations process (e.g., mandatory spending).  For additional information see, the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM’s) “Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs.”

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