Certain government agencies are currently shut down because Congress hasn’t passed a budget to fund them. Instead of working together for the good of the country politicians are focusing on how best to support their party and keep their jobs! Just one more reason to support term limits for our Congressional representatives.
This may take some time to resolve, hopefully before more suffer. The national emergency at our borders has caused a rift between the parties and in the interim others suffer on both sides of the border, certain federal services are unavailable, and many federal workers are doing without until back pay arrives.
Those seeking federal employment may have to wait for some vacancies to be filled. It all depends on the agency and whether or not their human resource staff is impacted. Many jobs may be placed on a temporary hold until Congress acts. If a position is delayed, now is the time to work on your federal style resume. Don’t get disillusioned, keep searching for vacancies and be ready to apply when you locate them.
The news media blows the Shutdown out of proportion. They sidestep the border crisis and the petty maneuvers of politicians and parties. First, only non-essential services are unavailable and the majority of federal workers will get paid and on time. Social Security and Federal annuity checks are being sent out and Medicare isn’t impacted. All critical services are available as this drags on.
I recently heard a report on one of the major news services saying that federal workers would soon abandon their jobs for private sector ones. I don’t believe federal employees would give their generous benefits up of 13 paid sick days each year, up to a 5-week vacation, affordable healthcare options, and generous annuity including a 401k retirement plan with a 5 percent match.
About 800,000 federal employees are furloughed until Congress
acts, which could be awhile. Furloughed employees have always received retroactive
pay in the past and consequently receive extended vacation time for the
duration of the shutdown. With this furlough, many received an extended
Christmas and New Year holiday break.
Non-essential new hires and those early on in their federal careers
are most impacted. They may not have sufficient funds to carry them over until backpay
arrives. Even though federal employment is a safe haven for most, employees
need to be aware of the fact that they too must be prepared for when political
conflicts result in Congressional inaction. Furloughed workers may have to work
somewhere on the side or apply for unemployment during the shutdown. Workers that
are furloughed can apply for unemployment however they will have to pay it back
after receiving backpay.
I was furloughed several times for short periods during my 35-year government career and actually enjoyed the additional paid time off. I believe many federal employees feel the same. Anytime you get more free time to spend with family and friends is a bonus. Those deemed critical often look with envy at the federal employees that were sent home, I know this from first hand experience. When I was walking out the door, during my first government shutdown, I was on staff and considered non-essential. The essential workers called me a lucky SOB.
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About The Author
Dennis V. Damp is a retired federal manager, business owner, career counselor and veteran. Damp’s The Book of U.S. Government Jobs was awarded “Best Career” title by the Benjamin Franklin Awards Committee. Damp is the author of 28 books, a recognized employment expert, and a retired federal manager with 35 years of service. He worked for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and held numerous supervisory and management positions and was responsible for recruiting, rating and interviewing applicants, outreach and hiring. His last government position was technical operations manager at the Pittsburgh International Airport’s air traffic control tower.