Kellie Lunney | December 2, 2014 | 0 Comments

A Primer on Pay and Benefits During a Shutdown

Flickr user National Museum of American History

The government probably won’t shut down next week. But if it does, we thought a refresher on how shutdowns affect federal employees’ pay and benefits would be useful.

Once again, we’re down to the wire: Congress’ top priority over the next week is to pass legislation keeping the government open past Dec. 11, the day the current continuing resolution expires. Lawmakers are talking about passing a CR-omnibus: a combination of an omnibus bill that funds most agencies through the end of fiscal 2015, and a short-term spending measure funding immigration-related activities. The two chambers also reportedly are close to getting the fiscal 2015 Defense authorization bill hammered out. That legislation sets the parameters for a pay raise for the military: the House version provides for a 1.8 percent raise next year while the Senate bill calls for 1 percent boost.

President Obama’s decision to issue an executive order delaying deportation for certain immigrants has put the government funding bill at risk. Although the GOP leadership in the House and Senate have said the government will not shut down, some Republicans want to use the spending measure as leverage to oppose what they view as Obama’s executive overreach. 

The fiscal 2015 appropriations process started off strong, but has been stymied by controversial debates over amendments, the politics of an election year and immigration reform. The House so far has managed to pass seven of 12 fiscal 2015 spending bills; the Senate has not passed any yet. The House-passed fiscal 2015 appropriations bills are: Commerce, Justice, Science; Defense; Energy and Water; Financial Services and General Government; Legislative Branch; Military Construction and Veterans; and Transportation/Housing and Urban Development.

In the event we have a repeat of October 2013, when much of the government was shuttered for 16 days, here’s what federal workers should keep in mind regarding their pay and benefits:

Click here to read (or re-read) the full government shutdown guidance on federal pay and benefits from the Office of Personnel Management published in fall 2013.

government shutdown is pretty unlikely at this point, given last year’s 16-day closure, which even House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, blamed on the Republicans.

So, federal workers shouldn’t panic. But it never hurts to be informed.

(Image via Flickr user National Museum of American History)

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