McNamee Hosea News & Press


Employment Concerns and the Federal Government Shutdown

Many workers might agree that an employment contract is a document that is revisited only in times of potential trouble. For example, a worker that received an adverse employment action, such as a layoff or termination, might examine his or her original contract for possible legal action.

Many federal employees may have dusted off their copies of their employment contracts this week because of the federal government shutdown. Although approval of the federal budget is an annual occurrence, many probably never expected partisan deadlock to result in the current shutdown. It’s a fairly uncommon occurrence, with the past two occurrences in 1995 and 1996.

The shutdown has resulted in the furlough of an estimated 800,000 federal employees classified as “non-essential” by their managers. Locally, the federal government employs about 30 percent of workers in the District of Columbia and 10 percent in Montgomery County, Maryland

Commentators are offering varying predictions about how long the shutdown will last. The 1995 and 1996 shutdowns lasted 27 days. However, some believe the conditions for compromise and resolution are less favorable today. As a result, furloughed federal employees may be without a paycheck for an extended period.

The Office of Personnel Management’s regulations on leave administration apply to most federal employees. In addition, some federal employees may be members of a union, such as the American Federation of Government Employees, and may have additional resources available to them. Despite those resources, many federal employees may have unanswered questions. Retired federal employees may have concerns about whether they will receive their annuity checks. An employment law attorney may prove to be a good resource for such workers.

Source:, “Government Shutdown: Good news, bad news,” Michelle Singletary