With a partial government shutdown five days away, at least some agencies are telling employees Thursday how they would be affected, according to officials and other sources. (Mandel Ngan / AFP)
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With a partial government shutdown five days away, at least some agencies are telling employees Thursday how they would be affected, according to officials and other sources.
At the Defense Department, the government’s largest civilian employer, supervisors are informally letting workers know whether they will be furloughed during a shutdown, spokesman Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban said. DoD Comptroller Robert Hale is set to discuss a shutdown’s potential impact at a news briefing Friday afternoon, he said.
At the Transportation Department, managers were also notifying employees Thursday of their status if operations are curtailed for lack of funding, according to an email from Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx obtained by Federal Times.
Some employees would continue working during a shutdown because their work “directly addresses emergency circumstances,” or their salaries are not funded by congressional appropriations, Foxx said in the Wednesday message to employees.
“There is enough time for Congress to prevent a lapse in appropriations, but given the uncertainty at this time, good management requires that we continue to prepare for all contingencies, including the possibility that a lapse could occur at the end of the month,” Foxx said.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell had a similar message in an email sent to the department’s workforce late Wednesday: “Managers will begin reaching out to employees tomorrow, Thursday, September 26, to provide additional details on our contingency plans and your status under a potential lapse,” Jewell wrote. “These conversations are designed to provide clarity on how a potential lapse will affect you, but they do not constitute an official notice of furlough. Official furlough notices will only be issued on October 1 if a lapse in funding has occurred.”
Much of the government is currently set to shut its doors next Tuesday unless Congress and the White House agree to a stop-gap spending bill. While many employees would continue working if their jobs are deemed necessary, they would not be paid until after the government reopens. Hundreds of thousands of others would be sent home without pay, with no assurance that lawmakers would later agree to cover their lost wages.
In a Sept. 17 memo, Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell told agencies to start updating their shutdown plans.