SSA Shutdown Furlough Guidance - Frequently Asked Questions

For general information regarding a shutdown ("emergency") furlough, please refer to the following guidance on the OPM website: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/furlough-guidance/guidance-for-shutdown-furloughs.pdf.

Employee Services: Child Care Centers, Federal Credit Union, Fitness Centers

Q: How will a furlough affect the open status of the following SSA employee services: child care centers, Federal Credit Union, and fitness centers? 

A: Employees should contact their respective service providers for information regarding operating status.

Outside Employment

Q:  May employees obtain additional employment outside of SSA while on furlough?

A:  Yes.  However, employees must follow standard procedures for obtaining approval of outside activities.  Even while on furlough, an individual is an employee of the Federal government. Therefore, the Executive Branch standards of ethical conduct, which include rules on outside employment, continue to apply to employees on furlough.  Additionally, there are statutes that prohibit certain outside activities.

SSA’s policy is to prevent the occurrence of a conflict of interest or circumstances that may adversely affect performance of duty or confidence in the Federal government. Employees may not personally and substantially participate in any official matter that may have a direct and predictable effect on the financial interest of a prospective employer or other person with whom there may be an arrangement for future employment.  Therefore, employees should avoid employment with any person or entity that is a prohibited source (anyone who does business with SSA, attempts to do business with SSA, or receives benefits or payments from any program SSA oversees or administers).  Employees may not allow or give the appearance that SSA endorses or encourages their participation in a specific outside activity.  Employees should complete an SSA Form 520 to document their participation in an outside activity during the furlough period. 

Employees should refer to the Standards of Ethical Conduct, and then contact Gwen Jones Kelley at Gwen.Jones.Kelley@ssa.gov for guidance prior to seeking outside employment.

Promotions, Extensions, Temporary Appointments

Q:  Will employees receive scheduled promotions or extensions of temporary appointments if they come due while a furlough is in effect?

A:  No. The following activities will be discontinued during a furlough period: hiring of new personnel; extensions of appointments; promotions, including career ladder promotions and extensions of promotions; and the processing of all discretionary personnel actions that would result in increased payroll costs.

Travel

Q:  What is the effect of a furlough on employees in travel status?

A:  Employees in travel status must return to their permanent duty stations as soon as possible in the event of a furlough, except when necessary to support essential services.  The agency will pay expenses necessary to facilitate employees’ return to their permanent duty stations.

Employees en route to a new permanent duty station incident to relocation may continue on to their new duty stations.  Employees on temporary duty or long-term duty assignments must act prudently in arranging for their travel back to their permanent duty stations as soon as possible.

Employees may arrange for transportation to their permanent duty stations by calling the agency’s contracted travel agency (SatoTravel) at 1-877-371-8883.  All Federal and agency travel and transportation policy still applies during a furlough period.  If employees have any questions regarding Federal and agency travel policy, they may contact the agency’s Travel Help Desk at 410-597-1241.