Shutdown Update – Congress Leaves for Holidays


With the Senate going into recess yesterday after no sign of agreement between the House and Senate to end the shutdown, the next possible day for a resolution is Thursday.

From the looks of things, it ain’t going well. 

The partial shutdown may extend past next week as the White House digs it heels in on its request for a border wall.  The only good news to come out of this fiasco is that the Senate passed a bill to allow back pay for feds who are furloughed.  The bill will go to the House for consideration next week.  Unfortunately, the House Freedom Caucus is running the show, headed by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) who largely shrugged off the effects of shutdowns on federal employees and their families in the press last week, so the bill’s success in the House is not guaranteed.  NFFE is continuing to work with House lawmakers to get the back pay bill passed separately from any funding negotiations. 


  •  If your agency is affected, your next paycheck should arrive on time and in full (between Dec. 28 and Jan.3), but paychecks after this pay date may be delayed or diminished.
  • If you work during the furlough, you are guaranteed by existing law to get paid when the government reopens.  However, paychecks after this next one will be delayed.
  • If you did not work during the shutdown, your back pay is not guaranteed but it is relatively certain that a bill allowing back pay will eventually pass.  If such a bill does not pass this congress, it probably will in the next beginning January 3rd as both House Democrats and Senate Republicans agree on back pay.
  • REPORT TO WORK after the holidays as usual until you are officially informed in writing that you are officially furloughed.  Otherwise you risk an unexcused absence.  Consult your agency for specifics on leave and use-or-lose or see the documents below.    

Additional resources from OPM: Unemployment Insurance Q&AShutdown GuideInstructions to Agencies regarding pay and leave operationsShutdown FAQ.