Now that Congress and the President have failed to prevent sequestration from going into effect, for many federal employees, the question on their minds becomes “what now?” The truth is, no one really knows, because no one has experience with this type of situation. Each agency will respond slightly differently, so how the sequestration cuts will affect employees will also vary.
Agencies, if they are going to furlough employees, will have to provide 30 days notice of the furlough. Federal employees have seven days to respond to the notice, and they have a right to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) for 30-days after your first actual furlough day.
The notice should inform the employee of the reason and the length of the furlough, though the reason for all of these be sequester related. A few agencies have already sent some notices, meaning the furloughs could be scheduled for the beginning of April.
You have a right to representation by an attorney when responding to the notice or appealing to the MSPB. If you are concerned about any aspect of the furlough or any of the other ramifications that flow from the effects of sequestration, you should contact an attorney as soon as you become concerned.
Employment law cases, especially federal employment law cases can be both highly technical, and may consist of very subjective evidence. This means having the guidance and counsel of an experienced attorney can be crucial for your case. Because sequestration is an unprecedented event, it is unknown how agencies and their managers will act, but an attorney can help review your facts and protect your rights.
Source: Washington Post, “Furlough Friday: 10 questions and answers,” Eric Yoder, February 28, 2013