Shutdowns Are Part of What Federal Employees ‘Sign Up For’

Are furloughs from shutdowns an expected job hazard of being a federal employee? One Congressman recently said it’s what federal workers “sign up for.”

Are partial government shutdowns and the resulting furloughs or working without pay an inherent risk in being part of the federal workforce? Shutdowns, or at least the threat of them, have certainly become more commonplace in recent years.

Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) said that the risk of enduring a partial government shutdown is something that comes with the job if you’re a federal employee.

In response to questions from reporters about TSA and Border Patrol agents who would have to work without pay if there were to be a shutdown, he said, “It’s actually part of what you do when you sign up for any public service position,” but added, “And it’s not lost on me in terms of, you know, the potential hardship. At the same time, they know they would be required to work and even in preparation for a potential shutdown those groups within the agencies have been instructed to show up.”

While his statement may inevitably draw the ire of some federal employees, he is putting his money where his mouth is. Meadows said in a recent tweet that Members of Congress should not be paid during a partial government shutdown, and he sent a letter to the Chief Administrative Officer requesting his pay be withheld if a shutdown ensues.

Meadows tweeted, “I will not be accepting any of my salary for as long as it lasts.”

As a federal employee, do you consider the financial risk that comes with a partial government shutdown to be part of the job? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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.