OMB Issues Pay and Leave Guidance in Event of a Shutdown

OMB has issued special instructions on pay and leave for agencies and employees who would be impacted by a partial government shutdown.

The White House Office of Management and Budget has issued guidance on how pay and leave will be handled for federal employees impacted by a partial government shutdown should it commence at the end of the week. The guidance is supplemental to the guidance on shutdown furloughs issued by OPM.

These are some of the highlights from OMB’s memo. The full memo is included at the end of the article. Note: any questions about furlough pay or procedures at your agency should be directed to your local HR office as general guidance may not necessarily be applicable to each employee’s unique situation.


  • Saturday, December 22, is the last day of the December 9-22 biweekly pay period. Paychecks for that pay period should be issued at the normal time (generally, in the December 28 to January 3 time range).
  • Paychecks may not include pay for any work performed on Saturday, December 22 assuming that the lapse in appropriates is in effect during the time that timekeeping is being finalized.
  • Lapse-affected employees may not receive any pay for work (i.e., orderly shutdown activities or other excepted work) performed during the lapse until after the lapse has ended.
  • If the lapse in appropriations continues during the December 23-January 5 biweekly pay period, no pay may be provided for excepted work during the December 23-January 5 pay period until the lapse in appropriations has ended.


  • All scheduled paid leave and other paid time off (including paid holiday time off) are cancelled for lapse-affected employees during a lapse in appropriations.
  • Use-or-lose annual leave is is cancelled as well. In general, if the cancellation of annual leave due to a lapse causes an employee’s annual leave balance to exceed the applicable annual carry-over limit at the end of the leave year, such cancelled leave may be restored to the employee’s credit following agency procedures, since the lapse is considered an exigency of the public business. However, leave that had previously been restored may not be restored even if scheduled use of the previously restored leave is cancelled due to the lapse.


  • Employees furloughed on a holiday (e.g., December 25) will not be paid for the holiday unless authorized by subsequent legislation.
  • Holidays remain in force for the purpose of determining entitlement to holiday premium pay for excepted work performed on a holiday. Thus, if the lapse is in effect on a holiday (e.g., the December 25 Christmas holiday), an excepted employee who is required to perform work on the holiday during the employee’s regular hours may earn holiday premium pay; however, payment cannot be made until after the lapse is over.

Special Pay/Leave Instructions in Event of a Shutdown

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.