Yes. That said, there is a possibility you will get push-back from your agency. To be in the best legal position, you should be prepared to show that any protests or other free speech activities took place on your own time.
Will Congress and the President come up with a funding plan that will keep the federal workforce operating through the end of the year? Naturally, it's impossible to say. The deadline is Friday, and President Trump is reportedly digging in to his position that Congress must issue at least $5 billion in funding for his proposed border wall.
On Friday, President Trump signed a two-week spending bill to avert a shutdown through Dec. 22. If necessary, additional time-limited measures could keep the government running until a permanent budget deal can be reached.
Many federal employees are feeling under attack. The never-ending series of budget "crises" and the unrelenting negative publicity aimed at federal employees becomes demoralizing to the average worker just trying to do their job. The sequestration, pay freezes, budget cuts and the incipient furloughs add to the oppressive environment that many workers inhabit.
The latest federal agency to begin the process of notifying employees of furloughs is Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The agency, which has more than 60,000 employees, started sending notices that furloughs would begin after April 21 and could entail up to 14 days, spread across the rest of the fiscal year. CBP is going to use a hiring freeze, cutting travel and training budgets, and sharp cuts to overtime and compensatory time to achieve the needed budget cuts.
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.
As the deadline for sequestration looms, federal agencies have begun to discuss how they will achieve the mandated five percent across the board budget cuts that will be required on March 1. To achieve these cuts, many federal agencies will use unpaid furloughs, sending employees home and off their payroll.
As last-minute negotiations between the White House and Senate Republicans appear to be proceeding with little likelihood of success, the automatic cuts to federal spending, known as sequestration will begin on January 2, 2013.