U.S. Government Shutdown Contingency Plans

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

With a United States federal government shutdown occurring after the U.S. Senate did not approve an appropriations bill before the deadline of midnight on January 19, 2018, employers would be wise to recall the impact felt from the United States federal government shutdown of 2013. (UPDATE 01/22/2018: CNN reports the U.S. Senate has reached a deal to reopen the government for three weeks until February 8, 2018.)

From October 1, 2013, to October 17, 2013, the U.S. federal government shutdown and curtailed most “non-essential” operations as approximately 800,000 federal employees were indefinitely furloughed. Some federal agencies affected by the 2013 U.S. government shutdown relevant to employers include:

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – which produces the President’s budget – has a web page with government shutdown contingency plans for federal agencies. The page, which will be updated as more plans are posted, is at

A federal government shutdown in the United States occurs when Congress and the President fail to pass appropriations legislation funding government operations and agencies. Since 1976, there have been seven federal government shutdowns in 1980, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1995–1996, and 2013.

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