DoD Furlough Guidelines Say Contractors, Military Personnel Can’t Fill Gaps

Starting this week, upwards of 680,000 civilian DoD staff will begin taking the designated 11 days of unpaid furlough leave. Despite staffing shortfalls, DoD furlough guidelines direct agencies not to fill in the gaps with civilian or military personnel.

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DoD photo

After many months of speculation, the date for Department of Defense (DoD) furlough date was set for July 8, 2013. Starting this week, upwards of 680,000 civilian DoD staff will begin taking the designated 11 days of unpaid leave, half the amount of the original plan, and down from 14. The furlough was deemed necessary after Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reported DoD was short more than $30 billion in operation and maintenance accounts.

As reported by Federal News Radio, Frederick E. Vollrath signed a memo on July 5th, which outlines specific additions to the memo put out by Secretary Chuck Hagle in May of this year. Vollrath is the assistance secretary for readiness and force management, which is the agency responsible for developing policies related to civilian and military workforce.

In light of the reduced staff work days, the Pentagon issued stern DoD furlough guidelines to managers regarding assigning additional duties to military and contractor staff. Additionally, the guidance specifically states that civilian staff will not be forced to work longer hours to make up for time lost due to the furloughs.

The memo acknowledges that the planned furloughs will “undoubtedly disrupt the mission and have a negative impact on productivity” but clearly sets forth instructions that forbid civilians from conducting official business while they are on furlough; to include the use of     government- issued mobile devices to do work from their homes.

Speaking specifically to leadership in the memo, Vollrath states that “using borrowed military manpower is not to be used to compensate for work resulting from a civilian furlough.” He goes on to instruct that “contractors are prohibited from being assigned or permitted to perform additional work or duties to compensate for workload/productivity loss resulting from civilian furlough.”

Per DoD guidelines, civilian employees who will not be affected by furloughs are: civilians deployed in combat zones; Senate-confirmed political appointees; sexual-assault and awareness staff; foreign nationals; and those civilians who are required to maintain safety of life or property are paid from non-appropriated funds.

Diana M. Rodriguez is a native Washingtonian who works as a professional freelance writer, commentator, and blogger; as well as a public affairs, website content and social media manager for the Department of Defense.