Agencies must “make furloughed federal employees whole” for unpaid time during the partial government shutdown, in terms of basic pay, overtime and premium pay, OPM has directed.

A memo notes that in ending the shutdown, a bill directed that those who were put on unpaid furlough status are to be reimbursed at their “standard rate of compensation” for their furlough time.


The memo generally reflects policies followed during the 2013 partial shutdown, and also acts as precedent for what would happen after any future shutdown–assuming that the measure ending any upcoming shutdown would again provide for back pay.

The partial shutdown spanned January 20-22, the first two days of which fell on a weekend and thus had little practical impact on most furloughed employees.

However, some employees who were furloughed would have been scheduled to work on one or both of those two days–and if scheduled to work at night or on Sunday the 21st, would have been eligible for premium pay. Further, some may have been scheduled to work overtime on one of the three days.

On Monday the 22nd, most furloughed employees reported for work to carry out shutdown activities and receive and sign their furlough notices, and then were dismissed. In most cases, that lasted several hours but for some it apparently consumed most of the day.

Employees whose salaries are funded by annual appropriations that had lapsed but who were “excepted” from the furlough and continued working (because their jobs involve public health, safety, security or similar considerations) are to be fully paid as well–that was assured all along. Similarly, there was no pay or benefits impact on “exempt” employees, those working for entities that are self-funding or that had continued funding in other ways.