Information on the Potential Shutdown

Last updated: 10/13/2015 5:14:03 PM

Government Executive articles on the Furlough

  1. Financial Help During Shutdowns, GovExec, GovExec Staff, September 23, 2015
  2. A Primer on Federal Pay and Benefits In Case the Government Shuts Down Again, GovExec, Kellie Lunney, September 23, 2015
  3. OPM Furlough Guidance, OMB Bulletins and Memoranda, Sample Letters for Furloughed Employees’ Creditors, and Important Unemployment Insurance Resources for Federal Agencies and Employees
  4. PA Unemployment Compensation Application and Filing Materials Checklist

Message from Frances Wright, AFGE Local 1916 President:

Brothers and Sisters:

I wanted to write to you about an important issue: There is a real and growing possibility of a Government-wide shutdown due to lack of FY16 funds. While Local NETL management officials have told us that NETL has about 2 weeks of carry-over funding available, AFGE Local 1916 has received no word as to whether DOE HQ will allow NETL to remain open and use those funds. If we are furloughed, in the past Federal Employees were paid, but that is in no way guaranteed. It is likely that CDC/NIOSH will furlough employees if there is no Continuing Resolution in-place as of October 1.

We are monitoring this situation closely and will pass along any additional relevant information to you when we receive it. NETL has yet to release its’ plan for guidance in the event of a furlough to the Union. Our expectation based on the previous government shutdown is that very few NETL employees would be considered “essential” and required to report to work in the event of a shutdown.

In the meantime, here are some Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of your Union Officers and Stewards. Additional information, including possible actions you can take, can be found at However, some of it is available to members only, and some of it is not to be read using Government Computers (if you see the warning in red, click off of that page and read it later on your own computer or mobile device while not on duty time).

Your Union at Work


FAQs About the Shutdown

Why are we facing another government shutdown?

Funding for most federal government operations runs on a fiscal year, from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. Congress has not passed agency budgets for the 2016 fiscal year, so funding for most programs and services will run out on Sept. 30.

What needs to happen to keep the government open?

Congress needs to pass full-year appropriations for every government agency. Barring that, Congress needs to pass a stop-gap funding measure known as a continuing resolution that would keep agencies operating at last year's funding level until new budgets can be approved.

What will happen to my job if the government shuts down?

During a government shutdown, most federal employees and contractors will be furloughed without pay (850,000 were furloughed during the previous shutdown in 2013). Other employees deemed essential, excepted, or retained by their agencies will be required to work during the shutdown but won't get paid either until the shutdown ends or funding is available.

What should I do if there is a shutdown?

Consult your agency’s shutdown contingency plan. This plan should detail which agency activities will continue and which will stop during a shutdown; estimate the process for shutting down operations at the beginning of the shutdown; and identify which types of employees will be required to work during a shutdown.

Where do I find out if I'm being furloughed?

Your agency's contingency plan details which employees are furloughed and which employees are retained. Your agency will also notify you of your furlough status before a shutdown commences.

Will I be paid for time worked before the shutdown?

Yes, you will. Checks for the last pay period before the shutdown will be issued by a skeleton crew of payroll staff, pursuant to OMB’s August 28, 1980, guidance.

Will I be paid if I am required to work during a shutdown?

In the past, employees required to work during a shutdown have been paid retroactively, when funding was restored to the government.

Will I be paid if I am required to stay home during a shutdown?

Furloughed employees will not be paid unless Congress passes legislation ensuring that federal employees are paid for time they could have otherwise been working during a shutdown. Legislation has been introduced in Congress to ensure all federal employees are paid in full retroactively in the event of a funding lapse, and AFGE fully supports this legislation.

Will I continue to receive health insurance during a shutdown?

Yes, you will continue to receive health care benefits under FEHBP, even without payment of premiums from you or the agency. Your share of your FEHBP premium will accumulate and be withheld upon return to work.

Can I use paid leave instead of being furloughed if there is a shutdown?

No, all paid leave or other paid time off is cancelled during a period when a lapse in appropriations is in effect.

Am I eligible to collect unemployment insurance if there is a shutdown?

Depending upon the length of the shutdown, your status, and the requirements of your state's unemployment insurance, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

What Can I Do To Stop the Shutdown?

Take action. AFGE is urging you to call your representatives, to schedule legislative visits, and engage in informational pickets. Learn what you can do today at