EDWARDS AFB — Edwards AFB leadership began handing out furlough letters to the base’s 5,000 government civilian workers on May 28.
Supervisors are mandated to hand out notices to all of their Defense Department employees by June 5.
The duration of the government furlough will be 11 days, or 88 work hours, beginning at the earliest July 8. If it begins on that date, the furlough will run through Sept. 30, 2013.
Specific furlough days and hours will vary for each unit on Edwards.
The furlough is necessitated by the extraordinary and serious budgetary challenges facing the DOD for the remainder of fiscal year 2013, the most serious of which is the sequester that began March 1. The Budget Control Act of 2011, as amended by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, makes across-the-board reductions to budgetary resources for the Federal government. The furlough is proposed to help meet the warfighter needs while avoiding a deficit of funds in fiscal year 2013.
The administrative furlough requires significant due process under law. Upon acknowledgment of the proposed furlough, employees have seven calendar days starting the day after acknowledgment to provide an oral and/or written response to the deciding official’s Designated Reply Official. The response is not mandatory, but employees may reply to the proposal notice and to furnish documentary evidence in support of his or her answer. However, financial hardship cannot be the subject of the response.
“Also, the reply period provides an opportunity for the employee and supervisor to discuss discontinuous furlough schedules or request a time to make an oral reply,” said Michelle Lovato, Edwards AFB Civilian Personnel officer.” For example, an employee can provide evidence or rationale that would provide the deciding official information pertaining to significant impact to their unit’s mission if they were furloughed for 11 days/88 hours.”
Employees would need to participate in an oral reply meeting and furnish supporting documents for their response. They also have the right to be represented by an attorney, or any other person, at no cost to the government. If in a paid status, employees will be allowed up to four hours of official time prepare their reply.
Employees need to refer to their proposed furlough letter to obtain the designated point-of-contact to schedule an oral reply and/or submit a written reply. The deciding official will fully consider the employee’s reply and issue the final furlough decision to the employee prior to the start of the administrative furlough.
DOD employees can call the Employee Assistance Program at (800) 222-0364 for inquiries. Counselors at the 1-800 number are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Additionally, base leadership will hold two Commander’s Calls June 3 in the Base Theater. One will be held at 10 a.m. and another at 3 p.m. Helping agencies from the base along with California’s Employee Development Department will have representatives on hand to answer any questions and concerns.