Civilian Team: What You Need To Know About The Potential Government Shutdown

By Doug Lundberg
Director of Office of Civilian Human Resources (OCHR)

If we do not receive a spending bill — appropriated funds for FY14 — or a Continuing Resolution, the potential government shutdown could result in unplanned shutdown furloughs for our civilian team. Amid this uncertain fiscal environment, I understand and share the anxiety created by this significant hardship on our workforce, which has already been strained by recent administrative furloughs. It’s our pledge to keep you updated – here’s what we know right now:

Sailors and Navy civilian employees take part in the docking of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

Sailors and Navy civilian employees take part in the docking of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.


1. What is a shutdown furlough and how does it differ from an administrative furlough?

Unlike an administrative furlough, which occurred during the summer of 2013, a shutdown furlough is unplanned. A shutdown furlough may occur when an agency no longer has the funds necessary to operate and must shut down those activities that are not excepted. Some civilian personnel may be excepted from furlough and may be directed to work. Shutdown furloughs are considered emergency furloughs – conversely, administrative furloughs are planned events.

2.  What does a shutdown furlough mean for me – do I still come to work on Oct. 1?

If a government shutdown occurs, all Department of the Navy personnel would still report to work on their next scheduled duty day, beginning at their normal hours, where they will conduct an orderly shutdown.

3. Who is excepted and who is not?

A.   Only the minimum number of civilian employees necessary to carry out excepted activities will be excepted from the furlough. DoD excepted categories include:

  • Protection of life and property, national security
  • Safety of persons and protection of property
  • Medical/dental care
  • Acquisition and logistic support
  • Education and training necessary to participate in or support excepted activities
  • Legal activities associated with imminent legal action as required by law or necessary to support excepted activities
  • Audit and investigation community
  • Morale welfare and recreation/non-appropriated funds to support excepted activities
  • Financial management in support of excepted activities and management of working capital funds
  • Working capital fund/other revolving funds with positive cash balances
  • Sexual Assault Prevention Response
  • NOTE: Positions that provide direct support to excepted functions may also be deemed excepted if they are critical to performing the excepted activity

Based on planning in 2011, about 40% of the Department of the Navy’s workforce is working capital funded and would be excepted from the furlough.

4. Will I be paid for the next pay period? On time?

During a lapse of appropriated funds, we cannot pay our excepted employees until after an appropriations bill is approved — even if they have been directed to work.
Civilians on emergency/shutdown furloughs would be paid retroactively only if a law is enacted providing authority to retroactively pay them.

5.  What happens if I am scheduled to be on annual leave during the furlough?

During a shutdown furlough, all scheduled leave (e.g., annual leave, sick leave) is canceled for all excepted and non-excepted employees during a shutdown furlough. Absences during the furlough may not be charged to leave – excepted employees unable to report to duty, due to illness, jury duty, etc., must be placed in a furlough status (i.e., non-duty, non-pay).

If you have additional questions, please visit the OCHR website, contact your civilian human resources office, or email questions to