With just two weeks left before the end of the fiscal year and no measure in place to extend agency funding, employees are growing increasingly concerned about a possible partial government shutdown and resulting furloughs. Political leaders say they don’t want one to happen, but there are significant policy and spending differences that may prevent them from enacting even a short-term measure to keep agencies funded beyond the October 1 start of the new fiscal year pending a broader agreement. If a lapse happens, it would essentially trigger a repeat of 2013 when a 16-day partial shutdown occurred, sending about 850,000 of the 2.1 million non-postal employees home on an unpaid furlough. USPS was exempt because it is self-funding; the same applies to other agencies, or parts of agencies, that don’t get their funding through the appropriations process, or that have multi-year funding with a balance still available–their employees continue working with no disruption in pay. Other employees would expected to continue working, although unpaid for the meantime, in most cases because their jobs involve safety, health or emergency response. Of those furloughed in 2013, about 400,000 returned to work after about the first week when Congress passed a special funding bill aimed at making sure military operations and personnel were unaffected. Some other agencies including SSA and VA also recalled some of their furloughed employees to work.
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