Government employees facing furlough aren’t free to accept just any job in their new ‘off’days. That’s the message in a new advisory from the Office of Government and Ethics. The memo reminds federal government employees that “ethics laws and regulations continue to apply” during furlough periods. For most government employees this means supervisors must be alerted of outside employment and employees must avoid any conflict of interest in part-time work they might pursue. Employees doing work with agencies or within programs that completely prohibit outside employment (and some do) will still face the same restrictions under furlough.

Here’s the specific language from the Office of Personnel Management’s January sequestration and furlough guidance:

While on furlough, an individual remains an employee of the Federal Government.  Therefore, executive branch-wide standards of ethical conduct and rules regarding outside employment continue to apply when an individual is furloughed (specifically, the executive branch-wide standards of ethical conduct at 5 CFR part 2635). In addition, there are specific statutes that prohibit certain outside activities, and agency-specific supplemental rules that require prior approval of, and sometimes prohibit, outside employment. Before engaging in outside employment, employees should review these regulations and then consult their agency ethics official to learn if there are any agency specific supplemental rules governing the employee.

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