That means that “the employee must receive the same pay he or she would have received for an equivalent amount of work performed for the agency,” the guidance says.
During the shutdown, some entire agencies and parts of others remained fully open because they had available money through self-funding, advanced appropriations, trust funds or other sources. Where spending authority had lapsed, agencies designated some employees as “excepted” from being furloughed due to the nature of their work and kept them on the job with the guarantee that they would be paid when funding was restored. The guidance tells agencies to pay them as normal.
Employees put on unpaid furloughs were at first guaranteed to be paid only for the time they spent closing down their work, typically for part of Monday. However, the bill ending the shutdown followed the pattern of those ending past funding lapses by requiring that furloughed employees be paid as if they had worked for the time they were kept off the job.
In addition to basic pay, a furloughed employee who “had been regularly scheduled to perform overtime work or to perform work at night or during a period for which any other form of premium pay would otherwise be payable is entitled to receive overtime pay, night pay, or other premium pay as if the work had been performed,” OPM said, reflecting policy it also followed during the shutdown in 2013.
The government pays those eligible for overtime at the standard time-and-a-half rate; “premium pay” refers to add-ons paid to some employees for working overnight schedules as well as on Sundays or at certain other times such as holidays.
Also to be paid, it said, are several add-ons specific to law enforcement personnel. However, in many cases those eligible would have continued to work as “excepted” employees.
The guidance did not address when payments are to be made. Most federal employees work on a two-week pay cycle that ended Saturday, but there are exceptions. Pay distributions are made a number of days after a cycle ends.
For furloughed employees, the time not worked also counts in the accumulation of sick leave and vacation time, as well as for the waiting period toward a time in grade-based pay raise. The guidance also covers various special considerations such as employees who previously were scheduled to be on leave without pay, such as unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.