If the current continuing resolution expires at 12:01 a.m. on April 9, 2011 without passage of an FY 2011 appropriations bill or a further continuing resolution, Federal departments and agencies will be required to execute contingency plans for a lapse in appropriations (more commonly referred to as a "shutdown"). These contingency plans detail which agency activities are allowed by law to continue to operate, and which activities must stop. Employees whose salaries are funded through annual appropriations will not be able to work and will be furloughed, unless their duties qualify under the law as "excepted" to continue to work during periods of lapsed appropriations. During a shutdown, non-excepted employees are not permitted to work as unpaid volunteers for the government. Any paid leave (annual, sick, court, etc.) approved for use during the furlough period must be cancelled. An excepted employee who is absent from duty during the shutdown must be furloughed during such an absence.
Federal agencies do not have the authority to pay their employees during a shutdown, regardless of whether the employees are working as "excepted" or furloughed as "non-excepted". "Excepted" employees will receive pay for hours worked when the Congress passes and the President signs a new appropriation or continuing resolution. Congress will also determine whether "non-excepted" employees will receive pay for the furlough period.
Federal employees’ health benefits continue during a period of lapsed appropriations lasting less than 365 days, regardless of the "excepted" or "non-excepted" status of the employee. Federal Employees Group Life Insurance coverage continues for up to 12 consecutive months while in a non-pay status without cost to the employee or the agency. Both Federal Long Term Care (LTC) and Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Plan (FEDVIP) deductions will cease for "non-excepted" employees.
Answers to additional questions concerning shutdown furloughs is available on OPM's Frequently Asked Questions for Shutdown Furloughs.
Furloughed feds by the numbers:
If the government shuts down, about 800,000 federal employees will be subject to furlough, the Office of Management and Budget said this week.
Military service members would continue to work but would not receive pay checks.
The numbers: Agency Employees subject to furlough
Total agency workforce % subject to furlough in agency
(More contingency plans available at the OMB website.)
|Agency||Employees subject to furlough||Total agency workforce||% subject to furlough in agency|
|Consumer Product Safety Commission||529||552||96%|
|Defense||All military personnel will continue in normal duty status. Number of civilians furloughed unclear but they will be in furlough status.|
|Environmental Protection Agency||16,061||17,721||91%|
|Executive Office of the President||1,346||1,781||76%|
|General Services Administration*||11,298||12,697||89%|
|Government Accountability Office*||2,970||3,000||99%|
|Health and Human Services||47,693||76,348||62%|
|Housing and Urban Development||8,854||9,700||91%|
|National Endowment for the Arts||162||170||95%|
|National Science Foundation||1,970||2,000||99%|
|Office of Personnel Management||724||6,514||11%|
|Securities and Exchange Commission||3,631||3,969||92%|
|Small Business Administration||2,076||3,249||64%|
|Social Security Administration||20,846||68,028||31%|
|U.S.AID||1,562 (in U.S.)||2,011 (in U.S.)||78%|
Who What Where:
Delayed pay for servicemembers
Military service members would continue to work but would not receive pay checks until Congress restores funding, the official said. #DOD would furlough civilians who are not considered excepted. For the current pay period, which ends on April 8, military service members would receive pay, the official said.
Federal websites to close
The administration official said most non-essential federal websites would stop operating but did not provide specifics.
Social Security Administration benefits to continue
SSA is still working on its shutdown plan but would continue to pay benefits.
Medicare benefits to continue
This program, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, would continue to pay benefits, at least in the short term. If a shutdown spans months, beneficiaries would be affected. But the administration says that scenario is unlikely.
Congress and federal courts
A shutdown would affect Congress and federal courts, said another senior administration official. But it's not clear how many people would face furloughs. The judicial and legislative systems operate under separate shutdown plans.
Other federal agencies that would close or curtail services include:
- Internal Revenue Service: The IRS would stop processing tax refunds for returns filed on paper. Returns filed electronically would still generate refunds.
- Small Business Administration: The SBA would not process applications for business loans.
- Federal Housing Administration: A shutdown would stop the FHA from making new loan guarantees.
- Environmental Protection Agency: The EPA would cut back on non-essential activities, including review of environmental impact statements. Those statements are crucial to some building projects, including projects paid for by federal funds.
- National Parks: National Parks would close.
- Smithsonian Institution: All Smithsonian museums would close.
- Cherry Blossom Parade: A shutdown in the next few days would cancel the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, which is scheduled for April 9.
On Tuesday, the Office of Personnel Management answered some questions about how a shutdown would affect federal employees, including questions about benefits.
Federal News Radio Link
The Potential Impact of a Lapse in Appropriations on Federal Employees OPM Link
Tags: furlough, pay and benefits, shutdown, Congress, budget, Julia Ziegler, Jolie Lee, National Journal