The December 21, 2018 deadline for a partial government shutdown is quickly approaching. That is an unwanted Christmas present for Government workers in the affected agencies, but what about for contractors? What should they do if the shutdown occurs?
With the House of Representatives having passed its version of the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as well as a federal budget agreement, both of which establish new guidelines and annual ceilings on allowable government contractor executive salaries, the question is what will the Senate do with both agreements when they address those specific revised caps. Moreover, because the House-passed federal budget and the NDAA have different annual compensation caps and contractor personnel to which these caps would be applicable, will these differences be reconciled in final versions of both budget and NDAA agreement?
OK for Government Employees, but not Contractor Employees
As a by-product of government shutdowns, we’ve now seen two occasions where government employees were paid for non-productive time while in furlough status (in fact, the furloughed employees were explicitly prohibited from working notwithstanding the fact that in both 1995 and now in 2013, employees were “made whole” once the government was funded. Although it was through no fault of the government employees who have been compensated for non-productive time, the fact remains that the taxpayer is footing the bill for idle, non-productive time on the part of thousands of government employees.
With a Congressional FY 2014 appropriations bill unlikely to be approved before midnight, September 30, 2013, government agencies and the contractors that perform services for those agencies, particularly the Department of Defense, will be immediately constrained in their ability to continue operations due to the absence of approved funding.