NASA Memo: lanning for a Government Shutdown

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2018

From: Bob Gibbs, Assistant Administrator, Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer Sent: Saturday, December 22, 2018

This HR Message is being delivered to you via HRMES On Behalf Of:

Bob Gibbs, Assistant Administrator, Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer

This is an Agency-wide e-mail notification to all NASA employees.

There has been a lapse in Government funding leading to a Government shutdown. As a required part of a Shutdown Furlough, employees who will not be performing activities excepted by law will be furloughed on December 26, 2018, and will be unable to work for the duration of the Shutdown Furlough, unless recalled for an excepted activity. According to our executed shutdown plan, all employees were notified whether they were excepted or non-excepted in the event of a shutdown. If you have questions on your status, please consult with your supervisor.

Important information for orderly shutdown is as follows:

Due to the lapse in appropriations, orderly shutdown activities will begin on Wednesday, December 26, 2018.

Employees scheduled to perform regular/recurring NASA work on 12/22/2018-12/25/2018 may do so provided it is authorized by their Center. Employees must contact their supervisors to confirm work expectations for 12/22-12/25/2018.

Employees are required to conduct orderly shutdown as directed; however, timing will vary. Pay special attention to special circumstances around orderly shutdown dates outlined below:

Employees scheduled to work on December 26, 2018 will be required to conduct orderly shutdown activities on that day.

For employees on leave or not scheduled to work on December 26, 2018, they will conduct orderly shutdown (i.e., acknowledge receipt of their furlough decision notice) via telework on the first workday they are scheduled to return to duty or when they return from furlough if they cannot access their furlough notice remotely. Important: Employees are not required to conduct orderly shutdown activities while on leave or in other non-duty status; however, they may not perform regular/recurring NASA work after Wednesday, December 26, 2018.

If able to do so, employees are encouraged to conduct orderly shutdown activities remotely/virtually and are authorized to do so using NASA issued equipment. For many employees orderly shutdown activities will consist of acknowledging electronic furlough notices on December 26, 2018 (or your next regularly scheduled duty day). Note: For most employees, acknowledging their furlough notice can be done electronically. Check with your supervisor for additional details, guidance, and direction on how you should appropriately acknowledge your furlough notices.

Employees who are not required to work during the furlough will be dismissed after shutdown activities are completed. For many employees, this may take less than 30 minutes. Contact your supervisor for specific shutdown activities and timelines.

All employees will be in a duty status until officially notified by their Center of a furlough. Unless otherwise notified, you should follow your Center guidance.

Additional Information for All Employees:

NASA has confirmed that employees will be paid on time for the hours recorded on their timesheets for 12/9/2018 – 12/22/2018.

Instructions on how to complete future timesheets will be provided after an appropriation or Continuing Resolution is signed.

Provide your supervisor with personal contact information and ensure you have contact information for your supervisor.

Provide your supervisor with your plans for the near future in the event the information is needed to support shutdown furlough or return to work activities.

Follow your Center’s guidance as to work location and Telework options for orderly shutdown, excepted activities, etc.

Follow your Center guidance regarding acknowledgment of your formal furlough notice. Employees are authorized to use Government-issued devices (e.g., iPhones, Androids,

BlackBerrys, laptops, etc.) to conduct orderly shutdown activities.

In many instances employees may be able to conduct orderly shutdown activities


Employees who were scheduled and approved to take use or lose annual leave during the

shutdown may request to have their use or lose annual leave to be restored. Guidance and instructions for requesting restoration of use or lose annual leave will be provided once the shutdown furlough concludes.

As appropriate/required, establish an appropriate message on your voicemail/e-mail out of office. Templates are provided below.

The following are examples of voicemail and e-mail out of office messages you can use: Voicemail Template – Furloughed Employee

You have reached the voicemail of [name]. NASA is currently closed due to a lapse in Government funding. I am in furlough status; therefore, I am unable to respond to your message at this time.

E-mail Out of Office Template – Furloughed Employee

NASA is currently closed due to a lapse in Government funding. I am in furlough status;

therefore, I am unable to respond to your message at this time.

Follow the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Web site (, the NASA Shared

Services Center (NSSC) Customer Contact Center phone number (1-877-677-2123), and any Center- specific guidance for information on Government operating status and directions on when to return to work once an appropriation or Continuing Resolution is signed.

During the Shutdown Furlough, you will be in a nonpay, nonduty status. During this time, you will not be permitted to serve NASA as an unpaid volunteer. You must remain away from your worksite, and may not work at home, in another location, or participate in events hosted by non-NASA entities in your official capacity like speeches or speakers bureau engagements, unless and until recalled.

Rules for use of Information Technology (IT) is as follows:

All Employees: Personally owned IT devices, technology, and applications are prohibited from

connecting to any NASA network or system in addition to any network or system that stores or processes NASA data.

Non-Excepted Employees: You may keep your Government-issued mobile devices (e.g., iPhones, Androids, BlackBerrys, laptops, etc.), and may use the devices to conduct orderly shutdown activities. After orderly shutdown activities are completed, non-excepted employees should not use their government-issued IT devices for the duration of the shutdown.

Excepted Employees (Full-Time, Part-Time, and On-Call): You can keep your Government-issued IT devices turned on during the shutdown.

Federal ethics requirements for employees remain in force during a furlough. NASA employees do not need to obtain prior approval for outside activities (e.g., employment) that are not prohibited or require advance approval as described in NASA’s outside activity regulations (5 CFR Part 6901). However, employees pursuing outside activities remain responsible for complying with all U.S.

Government ethics requirements and should exercise care to do so. NASA supervisors and ethics officials are not authorized to review or approve outside activity requests once a furlough has occurred. Additional restrictions also apply to certain political appointees. Further general information may be obtained in NASA Shutdown Plan Due to a Lapse in Funding on the NASA Operating Status and Furlough Information Page and at the following link:$FILE/ LA-18-02.pdf?open.

OPM also has information posted on its Web site to answer questions about a furlough at If you would like to retain any documentation from OPM’s Web site during a shutdown, you should save it on your personal computer or print it out.

You can locate NASA’s Shutdown Plan, Frequently Asked Questions regarding a Government furlough, an Employee Guide, and other helpful information at Note: This page will remain active during a shutdown and will be updated as circumstances change or additional information becomes available.

We recognize this situation puts Federal employees in a difficult position, and we’re very much aware that a Shutdown Furlough would impose hardships on many employees as well as the groups and individuals our Agency serves. If you need to reach an EAP clinician, you may call NASA’s after-hours EAP toll-free number at: 1-888-728-1404, which will remain active during a Shutdown Furlough. NASA locations served by Federal Occupational Health (FOH) (i.e., HQ, GSFC, and GRC) may also contact FOH at: 1-877-988-7243 or TTY: 888-262-7848. Some Centers may distribute specific EAP contact information to their workforce if their EAP provider will remain available during a shutdown.

With the fluid situation and multiple news stories, NASA employees should rely only on information they receive their supervisors and Agency communications, since general information provided by the media may not be timely or accurate.

Additional Information for Excepted Employees:

Excepted employees will receive information regarding their responsibility to record and report time worked during the furlough via daily e-mail to a designated local official in accordance with Center guidance. They will also be notified that if their assigned duties conclude before the end of the shutdown, they will be placed in a furlough status.

Excepted employees will still have limited IT support during the Shutdown Furlough from the Enterprise Service Desk (ESD). Excepted individuals in need of assistance should still continue to call 1-877-677-2123 (1-877-NSSC123). Additionally, the Virtual Private Network (VPN) will be left up during this time frame, and you are to use it whenever you are accessing your e-mail account or other information systems. Again, it is restricted to excepted employees only.

The NSSC Federal Workers' Compensation support will remain active during a shutdown in the event excepted employees are injured while working or employees with existing claims need assistance. Links for excepted employees and their supervisors who need information to file/review claims can be found at: and compensation. If these Web sites are unavailable during a shutdown, please call the NSSC at: 1-877- 677-2123 (1-877-NSSC123).

Additional Information for Employees Scheduled for Travel/Training:

If you are scheduled for travel and/or training for the upcoming week, the following guidance applies:

Travel in support of excepted activities will continue, but at the minimum level needed to support the excepted function; each Center has a senior travel coordinator on call to process travel authorizations.

All other travel scheduled to commence but not confirmed as excepted should be canceled. If you think a mistake has been made, you should promptly raise the matter with both your supervisor and travel office/CFO, but do not depart on the travel until you have confirmation via the travel office that the travel is approved in support of an excepted activity.

If you are not excepted and already on domestic Temporary Duty (TDY) travel status, you should make reasonable arrangements (e.g., at typically approved – not premium – fares) to promptly return to your home duty station. If you are not excepted and on domestic Extended TDY (ETDY), you have the option to stay in place or make reasonable arrangements for a trip back to your home duty station. But this election is binding; if you change your mind after the orderly shutdown, you will not be reimbursed for any non-excepted travel to or from your ETDY location. In either case, NASA will reimburse the expense of the long-term lodging, but you otherwise will be on furlough status (i.e., without reimbursable Meals & Incidental Expenses (M&IE) per diem or other work-related coverage). Do not cancel long-term leases unless specifically directed to do so.

CI Travel will be available during the furlough to assist employees requiring adjustments to official travel plans. For assistance, please call 1-855-896-7941.

If you are on foreign travel, please report to work or check in by e-mail with your supervisor for further directions. As of today, we are asking all foreign travelers to keep their current plans. If you are furloughed, you will be in an on-call status while overseas (i.e., regularly checking your e-mails for updates and changed directions). If the shutdown is not resolved after a few days, your Center may be recalling you home, but that determination will be made based on a variety of factors, including the anticipated length of the shutdown.

Additional Information on Medical Evacuation:

NASA maintains two international medical evacuation contracts for civil service personnel located and/or traveling abroad who require emergency assistance. NASA contractor personnel located and/or traveling abroad should coordinate with their companies for guidance during Agency Shutdown Furloughs to identify support available in an emergency.

Global Rescue: NASA civil service personnel associated with work related to the International Space Station (ISS) Program/Johnson Space Center (JSC) should contact Global Rescue for emergency medical services: 1-617-459-4200 (collect calls accepted) or Dr. Terry Taddeo, JSC Chief Medical Officer oversees the implementation of the evacuation process and contract for the program. Dr. Taddeo can be reached at 1-281-483-7041.

TMH Medical Services: All other NASA civil service personnel may contact TMH Medical Services: 1-844-506-4537 or The toll-free number does work in foreign countries. If you are scheduled to travel internationally as part of your excepted duties, please access and review information on the Agency’s international medical evacuation web page before the Shutdown Furlough for information that may be helpful/necessary while abroad: Additional information about TMH Medical Services:

Contract # NNK16ON17Z expires 9/30/2019 with next option exercised and expiring 9/30/2020.

TMH-designated number if a “policy” number is required: 1606001 for foreign country pre-entry document preparation.

TMH contract does not constitute an insurance policy but does ensure medical evacuation assistance is available to all NASA civil service personnel on official business travel in foreign countries.

The Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer (OCHMO) manages the contract for TMH’s services. For questions, call 1-202-358-1794 or 1-202-358-2390.

NASA Center or NASA component facility for which employee is affiliated will be invoiced for services provided. The OCHMO coordinates billing arrangements between NASA and TMH.

For more information or for assistance with a specific issue, please contact your supervisor or Center HR Office.

Thank you for your continued contributions and commitment to NASA.


Please contact the NSSC Customer Contact Center if you need additional information.

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