If you did anything illegal, immoral, fattening, fun or sad at work yesterday, don’t worry about it. It never happened. At least for some people in some agencies in the zany world of political one-up-man-ship.
Because of the shutdown rules in effect as we approached Columbus Day, Columbus Day didn’t happen for some people. For some others, working for the federal government, it was a time of confusion. Some are due to get paid. Some aren’t guaranteed pay. It all depends on the politicians so, by now, you know how that goes.
The reality of Columbus Day (the holiday that never happened) varies somewhat. Depending on the status of the shutdown, where you work and what your job is. Which reminds me…
While doing a ride-along with cops, as a very young newspaper reporter, I once saw an arrest wherein the police captured a guy who had broken into somebody else’s home in Northwest D.C. When charged with attempted burglary his defense was simple: “Oh, I’m not here” he said.
One hopes that whatever happened, he has been rehabilitated and, if he is lucky, may even have the good fortune to work for the government, either as a direct-hire civil servant or as a contractor. Either way, thanks to the confusion of the government shutdown, he could have worked on Columbus Day (a federal holiday) and claimed he wasn’t there. And in some instances he would be correct. He wasn’t there even if he was. At least according to some agency’s interpretations.
Here’s what Bruce Moyer, chair of the Federal-Postal Coalition points out is one of the interesting things about the Office of Personnel Management guidance:
“Employees who are ‘exempted,’ but do not work on the holiday, will have to be furloughed by their agencies for that one day, complete with all the personnel papering. That means there will be no Columbus Day holiday pumpkin-picking with the kids or grandkids for these exempted feds this year. The necessity for them to continue to work in these unusual times underscores the critical nature of the work they’ll continue to perform.”
Here’s what another reader told us last Thursday:
“…according to our HR department, there is no Columbus Day this year. Since I haven’t seen any legislation rescinding federal holidays or labor laws, I wonder if they are going to wind up paying double time to a bunch of people. I’m getting really tired of the heavy handed approach to treatment of employees who are just trying to serve their country. I, for one, will be going back to the private sector. Obviously, don’t name me if you reference any of this!”
OPM clarifies leave, holiday policies during shutdown OPM has updated its shutdown guidance Friday to include instructions on how to handle “brief or intermittent unpaid absences” by excepted federal employees. Overall, OPM has made more than a dozen changes to its shutdown guidance since congressional appropriations for fiscal 2014 lapsed two weeks ago.
Estimates point to slight COLA hike Preliminary figures suggest next year’s benefit increase will be roughly 1.5 percent, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. The increase will be small because consumer prices, as measured by the government, haven’t gone up much in the past year.