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Furloughs at Fermilab

Furlough Homepage | Director's Memo | Furlough Policy | Furlough Meeting Video
Furlough Q&A | Latest Q&A | Vacation Usage Info | Request Form

Furlough Policy

Policy Statement

It is the Policy of the Laboratory to initiate an intermittent (discontinuous) furlough due to a sudden and unexpected lack of funds to operate. All employees without exception will be subject to furlough or temporary non-duty, non-pay status. The furlough will be intermittent rather than continuous to mitigate employee financial hardship. Employees are strictly prohibited from performing any work during the furlough period. This includes checking work-related e-mail and voice mail .

Furlough Declaration/ Duration

Furlough declarations are at the discretion of the laboratory director.

Weekly employees will be subject to 32 hours of furlough within a two-month period as long as the appropriations crisis exists.

Monthly employees will be subject to furlough of a standard workweek within a two-calendar-month period. e.g., seven-calendar-day, five day workweek as long as the appropriations crisis exists. Furlough weeks must be Monday – Sunday.

Furlough Procedures

Definition of Furlough
An hourly period equivalent to the entire day the employee would normally be scheduled to work. For instance, an eight-hour period: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; for employees who work a standard 40-hour schedule. Weekly employees may also request furlough in hourly increments.

Employee furlough day/week selection

An employee must submit the request for furlough hours in writing to the supervisor by the end of the month prior to the furlough period (see attached request form). Weekly employees may also request furlough in hourly increments.

Supervisors are encouraged to make reasonable efforts to accommodate employee request for furlough hours, but all should recognize that the furloughs will be scheduled to minimize disruption to the efficient operation of the department. The scheduling of specific furlough hours is at the sole discretion of the Laboratory and is not subject to the grievance procedure.

Supervisor furlough day/week selection

In the event that there are multiple requests for the same furlough hours for the same day, the supervisor will approve furloughs based on department procedures for approving multiple vacation requests.

In the event that an employee does not submit a request for a specific furlough hours, the supervisor will schedule the furlough for the employee.

New hires are subject to furlough requirements.

Holiday Pay during Furlough Hours

If a holiday is selected as the eight-hour furlough period then the employee will not receive holiday pay.

Furlough is considered an excused absence for holiday pay eligibility purposes.

Continuation of Benefits while on furlough

Health and Welfare Benefits (Medical, dental, etc.)

The intermittent nature of the furlough is designed to avoid any adverse impact to employee benefits. Employee coverage will stay in effect during the furlough period. Employees will be responsible for their normal contributions.

Vacation and Sick Leave Accruals

Employees that are in pay status at least 11 days of each month will continue to accrue vacation and sick leave at their current levels.

The furlough does not change the three-month waiting period for usage of vacation for new hires. New hires must be in service for three months and be in pay status for 11 days for each of the months in order to use accrued vacation.

Part-time Employees and Phased Retirees Part-time employees and phased retirees are subject to a pro-rated furlough schedule. For example, a weekly part-time employee who normally works 32 hours per week would be furloughed 25.6 hours in each two-month furlough period. Monthly part-time or phased retirement employees must be furloughed in one-week increments per the policy. Work schedules may need to be adjusted to achieve the pro-rated furlough requirement.

Employees working Alternative Work Schedules (AWS) Employees who work an alternative work schedule such as 4/10 or 24-hour work schedules are subject to

the furlough and are required to take furlough hours off in accordance with this policy. If operational needs permit, employees assigned to alternative work schedules may revert back to a traditional 8 hour, 5 day workweek.

Employees assigned to CERN or other off-site locations All employees of Fermilab regardless of their physical work locations are subject to the furlough provisions of this policy.

On-Call and Seasonal Employees On-Call and Seasonal Employees are not subject to the furlough provisions of this policy due to as-needed call-in status. The hours of work for these employees should be reduced in amounts commensurate with the furlough amounts of monthly and weekly employees.

Employees on H1 Visas

The purpose of the furlough is to reduce the operating cost of the laboratory by reducing all employees’ pay by a roughly equivalent level. Because of legal considerations applicable to H-1B Temporary Workers, employees in H-1B visa status cannot be furloughed intermittently. To ensure equivalent treatment and proportionally reduce their gross pay, H-status holders will be reclassified as part-time employees (152 hours per month) during the furlough period. The pdf file of the updated policy statement on this subject, issued on Jan. 31, 2008, can be found online.

All documentation supporting H-1B employees will be amended to reflect this number of hours and all such employees will be provided with copies of amended documentation as required by regulations.

Answers to questions raised by H1 employees at the town hall meetings at Fermilab have been summarized in this Q&A sheet. Updates will be posted.

Court Ordered Wage Garnishments The maximum amount of an individual's disposable earnings (earnings after statutory withholding) that is subject to garnishment is the lesser of:

  • 1. 25 percent of disposable earnings for that week or
  • 2. 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage in effect at the time the earnings are payable.

In cases of earnings for any pay period other than a week, the Secretary of Labor will prescribe a multiple of the federal minimum hourly wage equivalent to number 2 above.

Court Ordered Child Support Deductions for Child Support Orders will be made in accordance with legal requirements.

Payroll Advances and Overtime Hours There will be no payroll advances given during this appropriations crisis. Furloughed time does not count as hours worked in the calculation of overtime.


last modified 02/06/2008   email Fermilab at Work
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