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FURLOUGH FAQs

What is a furlough and what does it mean for my employment with AMA?

A furlough is a mandatory leave of absence without pay that is temporary in nature. In general, employees can expect to be able to return to work after a short period of time.  Furloughs differ from layoffs in that a furloughed employee is likely to resume work at some point in the future.

How will I know when I can return to work?

Furloughed employees may not work until notified by AMA that your furlough has ended. Your manager/supervisor will notify you directly, and you may access the AMA Furlough page for up-to-date information regarding the state of the government shutdown and AMA’s operations.  

How is PTO handled? Will employees be able to use PTO during a furlough?

During the furlough period, employees do not receive pay including the use of Paid Time Off. PTO balances will be maintained during the furlough and employees will have access to their PTO once the employee returns to work.

 

Will I have benefits while furloughed? 

While on furlough, employees will maintain all elected health insurance, and there will be no lapse in coverage. Employees do not accrue new PTO while on unpaid leave. 

 

How will employees pay for health care premiums while on furlough?

AMA will continue to pay health insurance premiums for all enrolled employees. Furloughed employees who do not have sufficient wages to cover the employee portion of premiums will be able to repay this amount upon returning to work. 

 

How will health insurance costs be recouped once the furlough has ended? 

Furloughed employees who do not have sufficient wages to cover the employee portion of premiums will be able to repay this amount through payroll upon returning to work. Payment arrangements may be made for employees who are unable to repay the full amount through one payroll cycle.

Will I be eligible for unemployment if furloughed? 

A work furlough may qualify an employee for unemployment benefits. Employees may apply for unemployment benefits with their state agency. See list of state agencies at the conclusion of this FAQ document. 

Will my lost hours be reimbursed, or will I receive back pay?

This will depend on whether Congress authorizes payment of lost wages for contractors and if the contracting officer on your contract authorizes payment.  This will also depend on whether you work directly on a government contract or if your work is indirect. 

 

Do I need to fill out my timesheet while on furlough?

No. Supervisors will complete timesheets on behalf of furloughed employees.

What can I do to prepare in case I receive a letter of furlough? 

  • Review furlough information available on this page, which will be updated regularly. 

  • Stay in contact with your manager and supervisor. 

  • Please ensure your supervisor has your current contact information including a telephone number for which to reach you. 

Can I access my AMA email while I am on furlough?

No. Furloughed employees are not authorized to access their work email (AMA or NASA) while on furlough. Furloughed employees are expressly prohibited from performing any work while furloughed, including checking emails or messages. You may access the AMA furlough page for updates on the government shutdown and to access links for benefits such as Benefit First for health insurance and BB&T for 401(k) plans.

Can I take out a 401(k) loan if I am on furlough? 

Yes. Employees may access their 401(k) account and request a general-purpose loan at any time and for any reason. If you are a furloughed employee and elect to take a general purpose 401(k) loan, loan payments will be collected through payroll once you return to work and have sufficient wages for which to deduct your loan payment. Please be aware loan payments may compound depending on the duration of the furlough period resulting in a higher initial loan payment. Payment arrangements may be made for employees who are unable to repay the full amount through one payroll cycle. You may initiate a general-purpose loan directly through the BB&T PlanTrac employee portal: AMA 401(k) Plan: www.bbt.com/plantrac.

Can I do temporary contract work during the furlough for another company?  What if it violates the AMA non-compete?

Temporary work is allowed but the non-compete remains in place since AMA is holding the furloughed employee’s position.  If an employee has an opportunity but is worried that it may compete with AMA interests, the employee should contact their manager or Human Resources so that it may be discussed on a case by case basis.

How long will AMA be able to extend payments for medical insurance?

We do not have a clear date forecasted at this point but with the right prioritization we should be able to extend medical insurance for a few months if not more.

 

If wages get reimbursed after the shutdown, will that include PTO accrual we would have earned?

This will depend on whether Congress authorizes payment of lost wages for contractors and if the contracting officer on your contract authorizes payment. If AMA is able to be reimbursed for the fully burdened costs, then it is likely that employee PTO accruals will be reimbursed.

Is there a way to make up for the lost 401(k) matching funds that are lost due to lost wages?

Yes.  AMA conducts a matching “true-up” at the end of each calendar year. An employee can increase their 401(k) contributions for the remainder of the year in order to take full advantage of the 4% company match for the year. Funds are then applied to the year-end employee contribution.

What resources are available to me while I am on furlough? 

State Unemployment Agency Information