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Article 50: Furlough Due to Lapse in Appropriations
The following procedures shall apply when a furlough may be necessary due to lapse in appropriations/debt ceiling limitation, failure to extend the debt ceiling, or lack of continuing resolution.
A. The Employer will invite NTEU to be present at any meetings with bargaining unit employees where the discussion involves a potential and/or impending government shutdown. Prior to any such furlough, the Union will be given the opportunity to bargain the impact and implementation of the proposed furlough to the maximum extent permitted by law. Whenever OMB and/or OPM provide guidance to the Employer pertaining to a government shutdown, the Employer will promptly provide a copy to NTEU.
B. The Employer retains the right to determine which duties and responsibilities must be performed during a furlough and which employees are qualified to perform such duties and responsibilities. The Employer agrees to provide a final list of "excepted” employees to the Union as soon as possible.
Whenever the Employer prepares any list of functions, positions and/or employees that have been designated as "excepted" and therefore expected to continue working during a furlough, the Employer will promptly provide a copy to NTEU. Whenever the Employer creates or receives guidance and/or criteria regarding the determination of functions, positions and/or employees to designate as "excepted," the Employer will promptly provide a copy to NTEU. Unless otherwise specified herein, other information regarding any furlough will be provided to the Union in accordance with Section 7114 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.
To the extent SEC is directed by OMB or OPM not to release guidance it received from those agencies, it will promptly provide that information to NTEU once any such restriction is lifted.
C. The parties will meet jointly to evaluate mechanisms and procedures to be used within the Agency's various organizational units to identify which bargaining unit employees will be excepted in the event of a furlough. To the maximum extent possible, such mechanisms and procedures will balance the need for transparency, employee fairness and employee forewarning with the Agency's mission requirements.
In the event the parties do not reach agreement on such procedures or mechanisms within 12 months following implementation of this Agreement, the Employer will create a list of excepted positions and identify qualified employees to fill them. Qualified employees will be solicited to volunteer to fill excepted positions in the event of a furlough under this article. Volunteers will be selected by service computation date. If there are an insufficient number of volunteers, the excepted slots will be filled with qualified employees based on reverse SCD, the list will constitute an "Excepted Position Cadre." The Cadre shall be updated at least annually by soliciting for volunteers using this same process. The Employer will provide NTEU with the Cadre list once completed, and any updates to the list as they are made. In the event of a furlough under this article, the employees on the Cadre will be notified and given the opportunity to volunteer to be activated during the furlough. Volunteers will be selected by SCD, and if there are insufficient volunteers, employees on the Cadre will be selected by reverse SCD. NTEU will be promptly provided with a list of the employees selected to serve during the furlough. The Employer will consider an employee's request not to work due to a hardship. Employees will be given written documentation notifying them if they are selected as an "excepted" employee and required to work.
D. The Employer will notify all impacted employees of the conclusion of the furlough. The notification will include instructions on reporting to work. However, a liberal leave policy will be in effect on the day employees are to return to work.
If an employee is unable to use their officially scheduled and approved "use or lose" annual leave due to the furlough, and if they are unable to reschedule it, provided they qualify for carry-over of annual leave, such annual leave will be carried over.
During any fiscal year in which a furlough occurs, and in advance of the furlough, the Employer and NTEU shall jointly issue an all-employee notice with Questions and Answers attached which advise employees of the impact of non-pay status on civil service benefits and programs, and which addresses financial concerns employees may have when faced with a pay reduction. Once finalized, the notice will be distributed to all employees.
During any fiscal year in which a furlough occurs, and in advance of the furlough, the Employer shall provide all employees with information describing a furlough and benefits, including unemployment, that are available in their jurisdiction. At a minimum, this notice will contain information on unemployment benefits availability, the waiting period, if any, benefits eligibility requirements, and the location and phone number of State and/or municipal agencies responsible for administering the program in the local area.
While in a non-pay status, employees may engage in outside employment without obtaining prior written permission as long as the outside employment does not otherwise violate law, rule, or regulation.