Columbus Day to be unpaid furlough day for some
Dayton Daily News, Ohio
DAYTON, Ohio — Department of Defense civilian employees who are not furloughed will be paid for the upcoming Columbus Day holiday on Monday, a defense spokesman said, but some of their fellow federal employees may not be as fortunate.
Other federal employees will be required to take the normally paid holiday off as an unpaid furlough day because of the partial federal government shutdown, unless they are scheduled to work that day under “excepted functions,” according to the Office of Personnel Management.
“It doesn’t come as a surprise right now,” said Rick Hanna, vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3448. “There’s so much posturing going on.”
The local represents 800 workers in Ohio, including those who work at the Social Security Administration and the Transportation Security Administration. The vast majority of those employees have been called back to their jobs but have not been paid for work time during the shutdown, he said.
The financial toll has started to mount and they are ineligible for unemployment compensation even as they continue to work, he said.
“Until this (federal budget standoff) can be resolved, we are not receiving any reimbursement at all,” he said Friday.
Contractually, federal employees should be paid for the holiday, he said. “In the scope of things, you hope your employer will make things right for you or do what’s right,” he said. Eventually, he expects employees will be paid for the holiday and work time when budget matters are settled.
Benjamin Johnson, an Ohio Department of Job and Family Services spokesman, confirmed employees working full-time are ineligible for unemployment compensation because of the expectation they will be paid.
The Social Security Administration had 53,000 “excepted” employees working nationwide as of Wednesday, William Jarrett, an agency spokesman, said in an email.
In a message to Social Security Administration employees, a human resources official wrote under federal Office of Personnel Management rules employees would not be paid for the Columbus Day holiday unless Congress passes legislation authorizing retroactive pay or a budget bill is passed prior to Monday and all employees return to work.
This newspaper could not immediately reach a TSA spokesperson for comment Friday.
Defense Department civilian workers not furloughed will be paid for the federal holiday because they can be paid under the Pay Our Military Act, or payroll is drawn from an account from the prior year, according to Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban, a Pentagon spokesman.
“Those (Defense Department) civilians who are furloughed will not be paid – unless Congress passes the retroactive pay bill,” Urban said in an email to this newspaper.
On Monday, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base recalled virtually all of the 8,700 civilian employees sent home Oct. 1 because of the partial government shutdown. Federal lawyers determined civilian employees could return under the Pay Our Military Act if their job responsibilities “contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.” Congress passed the legislation and President Barack Obama signed it into law just before the partial shutdown began.
Wright-Patterson spokesman Daryl Mayer said the legislation puts civilian base employees in a pay status that allows them to be paid for the federal holiday. “As long as you are in pay status the (workday) before and after the holiday, it will be a paid holiday,” he said in an email.