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Furlough Overview

Last updated: 9/30/2013

A furlough is the placement of an employee into a non-pay, non-work status due to lack of funds or lack of work. Furlough is not a viable option if an agency finds it is faced with a continuing, rather than temporary, lack of work and/or funds (e.g., an agency may furlough an employee under RIF regulations only when the agency plans to recall the employee to duty within one year in the position the employee held when furloughed (5 CFR 351.604)).

This information is for planning purposes only and intended to address questions regarding the impacts of an unplanned (shutdown), furlough on employment status, pay, and benefits. Additional questions not answered below may be addressed to the WHS/Human Resources Directorate Furlough Hotline at (571) 372-8810 (Mark Center) or (703) 692-3237 (Pentagon), or

Furlough Types
  • An unplanned (i.e. "shutdown" or "emergency" (lapse of funds)) furlough happens when an agency no longer has the necessary funds to operate and must curtail those activities which are not "excepted" by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards
  • A planned (i.e. "save money") furlough is a planned event which is designed to absorb reductions necessitated by downsizing, reduced funding, lack of work, or any other event which requires money to be saved
Unplanned "Emergency" Furlough Process and Notification Requirements
  • There are no regulatory requirements for advanced union and employee notifications in accordance with 5 CFR 752.404(d)(2) for non-Senior Executive Service (SES) employees and 5 CFR 359.806(a) for SES career employees. However, advance union and employee notification should be made as soon as possible after realization that an emergency furlough is necessary
  • To the extent possible, the Department should adhere to the 45-day Congressional report requirement of 10 USC 1597 (e)
  • Employees may be "excepted" from an unplanned furlough by law because they are (1) performing or supporting the performance of emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property, (2) involved in the orderly suspension of agency operations, or (3) performing other functions exempted from the furlough. An "excepted" employee may be required to work in a non-pay status during the furlough period
Planned "Save Money" Furlough

There are specific processes and notice requirements for planned furloughs, which vary depending on the duration of the furlough. The same notice periods apply whether the furlough is continuous or discontinuous.

For additional information on administrative, planned furloughs please review the following documents developed by the Office of Personnel Management, Guidance for Administrative Furloughs and Supplemental Guidance for Sequestration and Administrative Furloughs.

Reporting Furlough Hours
Furlough Calculator

To assist with financial planning, employees can use the furlough calculator to provide a rough estimate of their total pay should a furlough occur. Enter your current hourly wage and known deductions to provide for the most accurate estimate. Referencing your latest Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) will help when using the calculator.

Please note that the calculations produced by this tool may not be 100% accurate and is not endorsed by the Department of Defense or any other U.S. government agency. As there are different tax rates and special deductions that impact employees in various ways, this is meant to serve as an estimate for your pay total in the event of a furlough.

Furlough Hotline

Furlough Hotline Flyer

Planned Administrative Furlough

Review Materials for Civilian Employees

The documents below include copies of the supporting materials that are available to employees to review and that were relied upon by the Department of Defense in its decision to implement a furlough.

* denotes a new document.

These documents are also available for review in printed form at the following locations:

  • Mark Center โ€“ Directors Conference Room
  • Pentagon โ€“ SEMO (EPP Office)
  • Fort Meade โ€“ DoD CAF Suite

If you need more information on where to locate a binder please email the furlough team at to arrange an appointment.

Other Documents with Respect to Furlough Guidance

This web page will be updated with additional information as it becomes available.