These questions and answers augment those provided in the OPM’s Guidance and Information on Furloughs, which can be found at:  The questions and answers are specific to theissues raised by this furlough and may not necessarily be the same for any future


1.  What is an administrative furlough?
An administrative furlough is a planned event by an agency which is designed to absorb reductions necessitated by downsizing, reduced funding, lack of work, or any other budget situation other than a lapse in appropriations.  This type of furlough is typically a non-emergency furlough in that the agency has sufficient time to reduce spending and give adequate notice to employees of its specific furlough plan and how many furlough

2.  Under what authority is a furlough taken?
There are three legal authorities under which a furlough can be taken.  Furloughs of 30 calendar days or less are covered under adverse action procedures found in Subpart D of 5 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 752.  Furloughs of more than 30 calendar days are covered under reduction in force (RIF) procedures found in Subpart B of 5 CFR 351.  Furloughs for Senior Executive Service members are covered in Subpart H of 5 CFR Part

3.  How is an employee notified of a furlough?
All furlough notices must be in writing and personally addressed to each affected employee.  Agencies may notify employees through either personal hand-delivery to the employee or, if not available in person, through email delivery or certified mail.

Personal delivery:  When delivering notices in person, management officials shall obtain employee acknowledgement of receipt (and retain a copy for personnel records).  If an employee refuses to acknowledge receipt, the manager should then annotate the delivery and employee’s refusal to sign. May 02, 2013  2


Email delivery:  When email is used, agencies should enable the “delivery” and “read” receipt features.  Additionally, the body of the electronic correspondence should inform the employee to send an email acknowledging receipt of the notice.  If a personal acknowledgment is not received within a reasonable amount of time; e.g., two business days, supervisors must immediately follow-up email delivery with a one-on-one meeting to obtain the employee’s signed acknowledgement (or annotate employee’s refusal to acknowledge).  When in-person follow-up is not possible, or employee acknowledgment has not been received, managers should follow mail procedures outlined below.

First Class and Certified Mail:  When an employee is otherwise unavailable for personal delivery; e.g., employee is located in a remote location, or employee is in a leave status, or an employee has not acknowledged receipt of email furlough notification, the Agency must mail the notice by certified mail with return receipt to the employee’s current mailing address.  It is recommended, however, that Agencies send notices by both first class mail and certified mail with return receipt.  Should an employee refuse to accept delivery of the certified mail, the first class mail option will also provide legally acceptable proof of delivery.

For example, an Agency meets the aforementioned requirements by completing th:

1. Personalize each notice with employee’s name, email address, and current mailing address prior to emailing the notices;

2. Supervisors follow-up with employees individually to ensure receipt and obtain written acknowledgement; and

3. For employees who are unavailable for follow-up or who have not responded to email notification, agencies mail the notices to current mailing address.

4. How is time on a furlough documented?

Standard Form-50 (SF-50), “Notification of Personnel Action,” must be prepared for each employee subject to furlough.  A return-to-duty SF-50 is not required for a return from a discontinuous furlough.  (Updated March 25, 2013)

5.  What effect will a furlough have on the calculation of an employee’s creditable service?

Time spent in a non-pay status (including furlough) is credited as follows:

  • Career tenure:  The first 30 calendar days of each non-pay period is creditable service.  (5 CFR 315.201(b)(4)(ii)(A))
  • Probationary period:  An aggregate of 22 workdays in a non-pay status is creditable service.  (5 CFR 315.802(c))


  • Qualification standards:  There is no requirement to extend qualifying periods by the amount of non-pay status. However, agencies may require such extensions in order to meet training requirements or ability to perform.  (5 CFR 335.103(b)(3), OPM Qualification Standards, General Policies and Instructions, part E.3.(f))
  • Time-in-Grade:  Non-pay status is creditable service.  (5 CFR 300.605(a))
  • Service Computation Date-LEAVE:  Up to six months in non-pay status is
  • Service creditable for within-grade-increases: The time in a non-pay status creditable.  (5 U.S.C. 6303(a)) that is creditable is determined by the employee’s current step (See 5 CFR 531.406(b) for GS & 532.417(c)(2) for FWS)

6.  What effect does a furlough have on time limited appointments or promotions?

Furloughs do not extend the not-to-exceed date of time limited appointments or promotions.  Agencies have the option to separate temporary employees rather than include them in the furlough.

7.  What happens to time limited appointments that expire during a furlough?

Furloughs do not extend the time limits for temporary (5 CFR 316.401(c)) and term (5 CFR 316.301(a)) appointments.  An agency may  extend the time limited appointment prior to the furlough, or the individual may be reappointed after the furlough in accordance with 5 CFR 316.401(c) or 5 CFR 316.302(b) (7).

8.  May an employee volunteer to do his or her job on a non-pay basis during a No.  Unless otherwise authorized by law, an agency may not accept the voluntary services of an individual. (31 U.S.C. 1342)

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