Outside-employment restrictions will still apply to furloughed federal workers

April 1, 2013

Federal employees who want to make up for the loss of income due to furloughs should bear in mind that restrictions on outside employment will continue to apply to them while on unpaid time off, the government’s central ethics agency has said.

“Please remind your agency employees that they must continue to comply with all of the ethics laws and regulations including the criminal conflict of interest laws” plus government-wide standards of conduct and agency-specific restrictions on outside activities, the Office of Government Ethics said in a memo to agencies issued in March.

OGE pointed to its earlier conclusion that such restrictions continue to apply on grounds that furloughed employees are not separated from the civil service but rather are placed in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status akin to taking leave without pay for other reasons, such as parental leave.

Another central agency, the Office of Personnel Management, had said in earlier guidance that before engaging in outside employment, furloughed employees “should review these regulations and then consult their agency ethics official to learn if there are any agency-specific supplemental rules governing the employee.”

OPM separately issued additional guidance last week addressing the effects of furloughs on various special pay allowances.

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Joe Davidson | April 1, 2013