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Old 01-11-2019, 07:07 AM
MikeF is offline
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Furloughed workers and no second jobs


Apparently, furloughed federal workers are not permitted to get outside employment while they are not getting paid. What is the logic behind the rule? Potential conflict of interest? Are the rule-enforcers also furloughed? Who could possibly blame someone for, literally, putting food on the table by banging nails or delivering pizza? How long does one have to go unpaid before any "contract" is broken?
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:32 AM
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That's a good point. The minute an employer failed to pay me what I was due would have been the end of the contract for me.

The worker contracts to provide time and skill, etc; while the employer contracts to pay for it.

Last edited by bob++; 01-11-2019 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:38 AM
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Do you have a link to this rule somewhere?
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:48 AM
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They can claim unemployment benefit:

Quote:
Federal workers can collect unemployment during shutdown
Federal employees can be divided into two basic categories. First, those who are deemed "essential" and asked to report to work. Their pay may be delayed, but they are guaranteed their usual wages and thus, will not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

But their "non-essential" colleagues will be forced to take days off without pay until Congress reaches a budget agreement. These workers may file for unemployment because they're on a temporary layoff through no fault of their own.

https://money.cnn.com/2013/10/01/new...its/index.html
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:49 AM
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I'm not saying it's incorrect, but I've never heard of that. I know many federal government workers (myself included) that have a second job. I didn't get that job while on a furlough, granted.

Last edited by spifflog; 01-11-2019 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:52 AM
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Let me expand on the above -- I don't believe such a rule exists. There are general ethical guidelines for outside employment, and federal employees are reminded that those guidelines still apply even while they're furloughed, but that does not amount to a blanket prohibition. Especially for something like banging nails or delivering pizza.

In fact, there are lots of human interest stories on a google search about federal workers contemplating getting 2nd jobs. Of course, it's not always easy to just walk into a pizza place and get a job as a delivery driver; people might have kids to take care of at night; they might live in an area without a lot of job opportunities due to the nature of their employment; they might only be qualified to do work that would violate the aforementioned ethics rules; they might not be able to find an employer willing to hire someone who could go back to their "real" job at the drop of a hat. All of these limitations might mean that there's an effective limitation on outside employment, but I don't believe there's a statutory one.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:44 AM
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I don't have a cite for the rule. I'm just going by what a federal employee being interviewed said. I seem to remember hearing the same thing during the last shut down.
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob++ View Post
They can claim unemployment benefit:
In my state, they can't do that if they're still working full time, even if not being paid. Obviously whoever wrote the law on that never anticipated someone forced to work without pay. That's usually prohibited by the 13th Amendment.
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:50 PM
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In my state, they can't do that if they're still working full time, even if not being paid. Obviously whoever wrote the law on that never anticipated someone forced to work without pay. That's usually prohibited by the 13th Amendment.
But that's the point. They aren't working.

What happens if they collect unemployment, when Congress finally pays them? They will eventially get paid, even though they aren't working. Do they have to return the unemployment?
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
In my state, they can't do that if they're still working full time, even if not being paid.
I think that's why only furloughed workers can apply for unemployment benefits. If I read my furlough notice correctly, essential employees (i.e. working for no pay) are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

Also, my furlough notice does not say outside employment is prohibited. It just reiterates the standard rules about conflict of interest - e.g. I'm not allowed to work for a contractor for my agency.

Last edited by scr4; 01-11-2019 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by spifflog View Post
But that's the point. They aren't working.

What happens if they collect unemployment, when Congress finally pays them? They will eventially get paid, even though they aren't working. Do they have to return the unemployment?
Yes. They have to pay it back. At least in Virginia.
  #12  
Old 01-11-2019, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by spifflog View Post
But that's the point. They aren't working.

What happens if they collect unemployment, when Congress finally pays them? They will eventially get paid, even though they aren't working. Do they have to return the unemployment?
There is no guarantee that “non-essential” federal workers (those being furloughed) will be recompensated. If they are (by Congressional approval) then yes, they have to return unemployment benefits. As for outside employment, federal workers are not prohibited in general from holding second jobs, but they are prohibited from engaging in conflicts of interest, e.g. working for a federal contractor whose compensation or performance they could influence. Ditto for investments and undisclosed familial connections. Except for the Trumps, of course.

It should be noted that many “federal workers” are actually employees of contractors working under contract. Those who are furloughed get zero compensation, and many are at the lowest tier of salary or wage structure. There is absolutely no reason these people should be denied their living just because Congress can’t function and the President wants to have an infantile temper tantrum. Everybody involved should be working at least a temporary solution for a continuing resolution to keep people working. That Trump won’t even stay in a room to even make the pretense of bargaining shows just what an actually terrible negotiator he is.

Stranger

Last edited by Stranger On A Train; 01-11-2019 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:24 PM
dtilque is online now
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Originally Posted by spifflog View Post
But that's the point. They aren't working.
You apparently missed that I was talking about those who are still working, just not getting a paycheck for it.

Quote:
What happens if they collect unemployment, when Congress finally pays them? They will eventially get paid, even though they aren't working. Do they have to return the unemployment?
I think they do.

Last edited by dtilque; 01-11-2019 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:29 PM
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A lot of federal employees have second jobs. There are strict rules about the source of secondary sources of income and relationships with government contractors. But it's not uncommon for a federal employee to have an ownership stake in, say, a restaurant, or a property management company, or other small business, or to drive for Lyft.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
You apparently missed that I was talking about those who are still working, just not getting a paycheck for it.
To clarify - "furloughed" means not working. "Excepted" ("essential") workers are working for no pay; those workers are not furloughed.

Last edited by scr4; 01-11-2019 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 01-11-2019, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
You apparently missed that I was talking about those who are still working, just not getting a paycheck for it.
No I noticed that. I thought that essential personnel (who were still going to work) WERE getting paid, but they aren't. So my bad on that.
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Old 01-11-2019, 04:45 PM
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Literally 10 minutes ago I watched a news story in which they interviewed federal employees who are taking second jobs to make ends meet. One was working as a bartender, another an Uber driver, and a third was delivering pizza.


mmm
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Old 01-12-2019, 10:01 PM
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I think the issue is that depending on the agency/position, many employees need approval to have outside employment and the officials they need to get the approval from are furloughed.* It wouldn't affect those who don't need permission and it wouldn't affect those who already had permission. But those who need approval and take outside employment without it are possibly putting their Federal position at risk.




* And typically agencies that require approval have very rigid rules regarding the need for approval - you need approval for any outside employment , even to deliver pizza or drive for Lyft.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
It should be noted that many “federal workers” are actually employees of contractors working under contract.
When the news reports how many federal workers aren't working, are they using this definition? Because I am a contractor working under contract and I am NOT considered a "federal worker" in any sense of the phrase.

Last edited by manson1972; 01-14-2019 at 11:31 AM.
  #20  
Old 01-14-2019, 11:55 AM
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When the news reports how many federal workers aren't working, are they using this definition?
No. The numbers are 380,000 furloughed and about 420,000 working with no pay. These are federal employees only.

The number of contractors who are furloughed and laid off is much higher.
  #21  
Old 01-14-2019, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
No. The numbers are 380,000 furloughed and about 420,000 working with no pay. These are federal employees only.

The number of contractors who are furloughed and laid off is much higher.
That's what I thought, thanks. It would be nice if the news mentioned "Also there are hundreds of thousands of contractors not working as well"
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:32 AM
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The Code of Federal Regulations is a gigantic list of all of the laws and rules that are passed by Congress and all the other federal agencies. 5 CFR Part 2635, Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, includes a whole bunch of rules explaining what is expected of federal employees. The relevant part is 2635.803, Prior approval for outside employment and activities:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Federal Government
When required by agency supplemental regulation issued after February 3, 1993, an employee shall obtain prior approval before engaging in outside employment or activities. Where it is determined to be necessary or desirable for the purpose of administering its ethics program, an agency shall, by supplemental regulation, require employees or any category of employees to obtain prior approval before engaging in specific types of outside activities, including outside employment.
I've been through this process for my outside employment. It involved submitted a document to my designated ethics official explaining the nature of the activity, the amount of time and money involved, the name of the person/organization for whom work would be done, number of clients, and so on. It also required me to certify that I would not use any official duty time or government property, resources, or facilities not available to the general public. After a review by the DEO and an agency official about three levels up from me, I got the green light to proceed.

Generally speaking, outside employment isn't a problem, but they need to review on a case-by-case basis to make sure no conflicts of interest (real or apparent) would arise. A few examples:

-many federal agencies engage in regulatory activity. If an employee is involved in making decisions regarding regulations/enforcement, they're not going to be approved for outside employment with any company that's subject to such regulations.

-many federal employees are involved in managing contractors, or making decisions about the merits of competing contract bids. Such federal employees are not going to be approved for outside employment with such contractors.

The catch of course is that you officially need prior approval, and it's not a blanket approval, it's done on a case-by-case basis. If you didn't get prior approval for specific outside employment before the shutdown, then you're officially screwed, since the people who would issue that approval are out of the office for the duration. If you're driving for Uber or delivering pizzas to avoid defaulting on your mortgage during the shutdown, it's not likely to come back to bite you in the ass, but if it fits into one of the above ethically questionable categories, you might find yourself in hot water at a later date.
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