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Essential Information on non-Essential Employees
30 Sep 2013

Essential Information on non-Essential Employees

Diane Rogers


Thanks to Capstone’s Diane Rogers for a quick breakdown on what “non-essential” means. Follow her on LinkedIn


The government is poised for a shutdown. It’s sort of like a dysfunctional family only magnified on a much larger scale. In spite of the scale, most of us won’t notice much of a difference in our daily lives. In fact, an estimated 59% of non-defense federal employees would be exempt from the shutdown and go to work, claims a USA Today analysis of 119 contingency plans filed with the Office of Management and Budget.  But for those who depend on Congress to actually act and do their jobs of authoring and voting on legislation, every day of the shutdown has the potential to be costly.

Having worked at the US Department of Education during the last government shutdown in 1996, it was a confusing and difficult time. The shutdown lasted for 21 days. During a shutdown, only essential personal are required to report in for work.

For the agencies, the Secretary of each agency makes the determination as to whom is deemed essential.

For Congress, the House Administration Committee issued instructions last week.  Individual offices are to make the determination of whether a person’s job is “directly related to constitutional responsibilities, the protection human life, or the protection of property.”  That’s a pretty broad brush so why can’t any work get done?

In short, it can, sort of, but not really. If the person you need to talk to at some agency has not been deemed essential, but that person is essential to moving your project forward, then your project is stalled until the shutdown is over. For those waiting for Congress to act, the reality of a shutdown is scattering dollars like leaves in the wind.

Put simply, if members of Congress aren’t talking to each other, then the real business of governing is abdicated and can only be resumed when they do start talking again.

Leaves are falling. Time’s up.  Start talking.

The views in this blog post represent the viewpoints of individual team members, not Capstone National Partners as a whole.

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