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AFGE issues guidance for potential government shutdown

The American Federation of Government Employees has released a guidance to prepare employees for a possible government shutdown.

The American Federation of Government Employees has issued a guidance to advise members on their rights in the event of a  possible government shutdown next month,

The current continuing resolution that funds the Federal government expires April 8 and there is increasing concern among federal employees that some sort of work stoppage, however brief, could be possible. AFGE on March 24 issued the guidance to offer local chapters and members suggestions on ways to deal with the potential stoppage.

A significant number of AFGE members perform work that the federal government considers “essential” and will not be furloughed, the guidance said. In this regard, the Office of Management and Budget is working with agency supervisors to determine precisely which employees are “essential” and which are “non-essential.” The employees deemed essential will not be paid until the budget impasse is resolved and most likely will not be eligible to file for unemployment compensation even though they are not receiving a salary, the guidance said.

The union proposed that employees be compensated for any lost pay differentials and premium pay that they normally would have earned, but could lose in the event of a shutdown. Also, the government should continue to provide benefits, such as those made available through the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program, during any government shutdown, the guidance said.

Since 1981, the government has shut down 11 times because of lapses in appropriations, the union noted. In fiscal 1996, a funding impasse during the 104th Congress resulted in two shutdowns lasting five and 21 days, respectively.

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