Timelines are “Frozen”
The shutdown will have a long lasting impact on many federal employees for many reasons. However, employees engaged in administrative processes such as responding to disciplinary or adverse actions, filing a grievance, filing an EEO claim, petitioning before the FLRA, should suffer no direct impact related to such processes in the context of the federal shutdown. Related timelines will be extended commensurately with the number of days of the shutdown unless your agency was not affected by the shutdown or statutory law prohibits such extensions. This essentially means if a time limit passed during the shutdown, you must meet that requirement when the shutdown is over. Be sure to check applicable Master Agreements since contract provisions would likely prevail.
For Employees and Agencies Affected by Shutdown
Disciplinary and Adverse Actions: Your opportunity to respond to a proposed disciplinary or adverse action will be extended, at a minimum, an equal number of days as the shutdown. Similarly, the agency opportunity to render a decision will be extended.
Grievances: Grievance time limits will be similarly extended for both parties. For example, if you have 30 days to file a grievance, you would now have 30 days plus an equal number of days as the shutdown. If you were at Step 2 of the process, the time limits will also be extended. Same rules would apply to arbitration.
MSPB Filing: As MSPB notes on it’s website, all MSPB operations have ceased. Therefore, you cannot even file an appeal. MSPB will extend all filing and procedural deadlines at least an equal number of days to the shutdown. However, you can expect significant delays for months due to already pending Sequester furlough appeals, new Shutdown furlough appeals, and the fact MSPB ceased all operations (again) including those appeals already filed.
EEOC: EEO claims processing, as well as initial filings, will be extended an equal number of days as the shutdown. Like with MSPB, the agency has ceased all operations. Similarly, agency level EEO claims processing of affected agencies has ceased. However, expect major delays in processing through the remainder of 2013.
FLRA: The same rules should be applied as indicated above. However, the FLRA notes on it’s website, “the FLRA’s ability to modify the filing time limits set forth in the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute for certain matters – unfair labor practice (ULP) charges, representation petitions, negotiability petitions, applications for review of Regional Directors’ Decisions and Orders in representation cases, or exceptions to an arbitrator’s award – is uncertain.”
Be prepared to meet your requirements the day the shutdown is over. You may want to prepare a written clarification request for the agency regarding timelines and submit immediately after shutdown is over. Ensure you can prove delivery of such a letter.
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