NATCA Government Shutdown Guidance
Thursday, April 07, 2011


As you know, the Congress did not pass funding bills for FY11 and is now operating on its sixth continuing resolution or CR, (a type of appropriations legislation to fund government agencies if a formal appropriations bill has not been signed into law) which expires at 12:01 a.m. on April 9, 2011. Unlike the previous CRs, it looks as though an agreement may not be made and the government may indeed have a lapse in appropriations. If Congress does not pass a funding bill or another CR, Federal departments and agencies will be required to execute contingency plans for a lapse in appropriations (shutdown). These plans detail which activities will continue to operate, in others words, deemed essential. During a shutdown, non-essential (non-excepted) employees are not permitted to work and will be furloughed. We have requested and are awaiting a list of essential (excepted) and non-essential employees from the FAA as those deemed one or the other during emergency situations like severe weather may not be one and the same. The FAA is waiting for approval on one of the several scenarios they put forward on what services they would or should continue to provide under a lapse in appropriations. When they have made that determination they will let us know. Any paid leave (annual, sick, etc.) approved for use during the furlough period must be cancelled for all employees. 

An essential employee who is absent from duty during the shutdown must be furloughed during such an absence and any non-essential employee on leave will be converted as furloughed.Federal agencies do not have the authority to pay their employees during a shutdown, regardless of whether the employees are working as "excepted (essential)" or furloughed as "non-excepted (non-essential)." Employees that work during the furlough will not get paid until the Congress passes and the President signs a new appropriations bill or continuing resolution.Federal employees’ health benefits continue during a period of lapsed appropriations lasting less than 365 days, regardless whether they are furloughed or not. Federal Employees Group Life Insurance coverage continues for up to 12 consecutive months while in a non-pay status without cost to the employee or the agency. For more frequently asked questions please go to www.opm.gov/furlough2011. NATCA is responding in various ways to address the potential government shutdown including by taking the following actions:

  1. We have submitted a request to bargain and initial bargaining proposals to the Agency at the National level. The request to bargain covers all of the bargaining units represented by NATCA. While the decision to furlough employees is a management right protected from collective bargaining, a furlough is viewed as a change in working conditions and agencies must bargain over the "impact and implementation" of their decision as well as over appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by the furlough. 

  2. As stated above, we have submitted a Request for Information at the national level (formally and informally), requesting among other things, a list of all employees deemed “essential” and “non-essential.”

Should a government shutdown occur, and a furlough result, NATCA intends to respond nationally. Any subsequent information will be distributed as soon as it becomes available. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your RVP.