Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Government shutdown 2011: Will I get paid?

Government shutdown 2011: Will I get paid? What will be open? What can I expect?

I am a member of the military. What does the shutdown mean for me? Will I get paid?
A shutdown would also affect pay for members of the military, said senior government officials familiar with the planning. If the current funding expires on Friday, in the middle of the military’s two-week pay period, theDefense Department would distribute paychecks for the first week, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. In an effort to avoid such disruption, House Republicans introduced legislation that would pay troops if a deal isn’t reached. Congressional aides couldn’t say whether such a bill would pass either chamber before Friday.
I am a government contractor. What should I do?
Short answer: It depends. Veterans of previous shutdowns are reminding contractors that they could be locked out of their offices or forced to cut short any government-funded travel. During a shutdown, experts suggest contracting firms should ask employees to complete overdue training programs, take vacations or temporarily reassign them to other projects. Worst case, some firms may need to furlough employees. Boehner on Friday said any shutdown could interrupt contracts and force the government to pay more in eventual overtime costs. As each agency makes a determination regarding contract.
I am a federal worker. If I do work during the shutdown, what happens?
During a shutdown, you may not volunteer to do work if you are deemed “non-essential,” and whether you get paid depends on the agency you work for. According to administration documentation: “Congress will sort out who gets paid for time worked during ashutdown and those employees will be paid when Congress passes and the president signs a new appropriation or continuing resolution.” Executive Branch ethics regulations governing whether federal employees can take jobs elsewhere during a shutdown still apply, and paid vacation time cannot be taken during a government shutdown. If an “essential” or “excepted” employee does not report for work as ordered, they will be deemed AWOL and be subject to “subsequent consequences.” You can read the full guidance here:
What about civilian employees of the Defense Department?
Civilian DOD workers would undergo the same consideration as all other civilian federal employees, a senior administration official said.
Am I an “essential” worker or an “excepted employee”? How will I know if I am?
The administration has sent out a question-and-answer sheet outlining who is “essential” and who is not. An “essential” employee and “excepted employee” are the same thing — the latter is the term used by the Office of Personnell Management for employees who work during a shutdown. According to the administration Q&A, “Each Agency will communicate with its emploees whether they’re ‘essential’ or ‘non-essential.’” It is also worth noting that employees who are deemed “emergency employees” are not necessarily ”essential.”
I am a federal worker. Will I get paid if there’s a shutdown?
Quick answer: It depends. The Obama administration is warning federal workers that they cannot work for free during any shutdown nor can they take paid leave. In instructions updated and issued Tuesday evening, the Office of Personnel Management issued updated guidance on how a shutdown of even one day would impact each worker’s bottom line. You can read the full guidance here
How about White House staffers?
The administration anticipates “significantly lower staffing levels” at the White House during a shutdown, according to a senior administration official.
What will happen to the National Archives?
Managers at the National Archives said all of its operations would shutter, with the exception of workers who protect collections.
What will happen to public museums like the Smithsonian Institution?
If budget talks break down Friday evening and a government shutdown starts Saturday morning, about 500,000 visitors could be turned away this weekend alone from the National Zoo and the major Smithsonian museums on the Mall, according to Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas. But private museums like the Newseum, The Phillips Collection and Corcoran Gallery of Art will remain open. And, yes, guards will continue to keep watch over museums and zoo animals will continue to be fed.
How would a shutdown affect school lunches and other public school programs?
We have no information at all to suggest any cutoff is at hand for school lunches or other longstanding federal programs in public schools. To the contrary: federal funding for public schools typically is granted to states well in advance of the time the actual expense is incurred. Tens of billions of dollars in grants were awarded last July and October--money that can be spent in the current school year and beyond. This means as a practical matter that nearly all federal programs affecting schools will continue even if there is a temporary federal shutdown. It's worth noting, too, that the vast majority of public school funding comes from state and local governments, not from Washington.
Would the mail get delivered and will post offices be open?
Postal Service is self-funded; it will not be affected by a federal shutdown.
When will the government actually shutdown?
If an agreement is not reached on the 2011 budget by midnight Friday, the government will shutdown starting Saturday.
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