Sequester furlough planning requires complex preparations
March 20, 2013
SAN ANTONIO (March 20, 2013) - - There's no shortcut to make the pending
Proposal of Notification Letter easier or quicker to produce. Officials
across the Army await the exact details and wording of the furlough
communication to minimize confusion among employees.
Employees of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command are expected to receive their notification letters soon. Officials now estimate that furlough notices will go out on or about April 5, said Navy Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Pentagon spokesperson, in a recent announcement.
Before notifications can be made, human resource officials are expecting a signed
memo from the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs
Thomas R. Lamont. In that memo will come specific guidance for conducting the furlough
With civilian personnel all across the Army anticipating furloughs,
approximately 27,000 IMCOM employees are waiting to find out if they, as
individuals, are going into temporary non-duty and non-pay status. Those
employees will be notified directly by their supervisors.
Once employees are notified, several things must be accomplished. They will
first acknowledge in writing their receipt of notification. They will then
have seven days to exercise their right to reply. Employees may appeal
orally or in writing to the designated reply official.
Also, supervisors will inform employees of their exact furlough schedule.
IMCOM is considering various methods to balance the work schedule, including
a shortened 4-day workweek, but no decision has been made.
Finally, supervisors will distribute decision notification notices to
employees to begin the furlough schedule. These letters are expected to go
out the week ending April 19, in time for the following furlough week. Then
furloughs are expected to continue for 22 discontinuous days or one day per
week for the remainder of the fiscal year. Employees may appeal the agency's
decision to the Merit System Protection Board within 30 days from the
effective date of the furlough.
A furlough places an employee in a temporary non-duty and non-pay status.
IMCOM is furloughing its employees as a result of the Budget Control Act
passed Aug. 2, 2011. The act requires more than $487 billion in cuts from
the defense base budget over 10 years, beginning in fiscal year 2013. These
cuts are commonly referred to as the "sequester."
IMCOM is taking other steps to help preserve financial resources during
sequester. These include close scrutiny of 783 contracts across the IMCOM
garrisons with a performance period starting in May or later. Contracts
under review may be new awards or contracts with options scheduled for
extension during this period.
Most of the contracts under review fall in the municipal services arena.
These include pest control, refuse, custodial care and grounds maintenance
services. To maintain fiscal goals during sequester, IMCOM must make
contracting decisions for the balance of fiscal 2013 and into fiscal 2014;
however, no enterprise-wide contracting decisions have been made so far.
Active-duty, Reserve and National Guard service members are exempt from
While the furlough is the equivalent of an 8.5 percent annual reduction in
pay, each employee will experience a 20 percent reduction during the last
five months of fiscal 2013. IMCOM realizes and regrets this hardship on
For those employees who are enrolled in the Thrift Savings Plan through
payroll deductions, TSP offers some relief. Go to their website at
https://www.tsp.gov/lifeevents/entering/enteringGovService.shtml and explore
the non-pay status options.
While on furlough, there will be strict adherence to employee standards --
for example, overtime and compensatory time are curtailed, and no employee
will be allowed to volunteer services to their organization during the
furlough. Telework and the use of government issued electronics, such as
mobile phones, laptops or tablet computers, will not be permitted on
During the furlough period, the accumulation of annual and sick leave will
be slowed. Leave is earned each pay period depending upon the pay status of
the employee and the number of hours worked. With fewer hours comes a
proportional decrease in the accrual of leave hours. Employees can obtain
the exact status on their leave and earnings statements.
Some scheduled annual leave during the furlough may be cancelled by the
commander to fulfill manpower shortages. Management will be looking closely
at leave schedules to balance the demands of the mission. Employees are
reminded to work closely with supervisors on leave schedules, especially
around these upcoming federal holidays: May 27 (Memorial Day), July 4
(Independence Day) and September 2 (Labor Day).
Before seeking any part-time employment in the civilian sector, employees
should discuss with their supervisor to assure they have met all ethics
While health benefits, flexible spending accounts, federal group life
insurance, vision and dental plans, and federal long term care plans are not
impacted during this furlough period, the employee will still be responsible
for the full premiums due for these benefits.
No decision has been made regarding the termination of temporary and term
For more information on how sequestration and furloughs affect the IMCOM
workforce, go to http://www.imcom.army.mil/Organization/G1Personnel.aspx.
NOTE: Article modified March 22, 2013 to reflect delay in furlough notices.
About the U.S. Army Installation Management Command:
IMCOM handles the day-to-day operations of U.S. Army installations around the globe -- We are the Army's Home. Army installations are communities that provide many of the same types of services expected from any small city. Fire, police, housing, and childcare are just some of the things IMCOM does in Army communities every day. Our professional workforce strives to deliver on the commitments of the Army Family Covenant, honor the sacrifices of military Families, and enable the Army Force Generation cycle.
Our vision: Ready & Resilient Army: Provide Soldiers, Families and Civilians with a quality of life commensurate with the quality of their service.
Our mission: IMCOM will synchronize, integrate, and deliver installation services and sustain facilities in support of Senior Commanders in order to enable a ready and resilient Army.
To learn more about IMCOM: