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Even in shutdown, Feds get overtime, comp time, ‘Sunday pay’

A federal government shutdown will temporarily cut off pay of thousands of Uncle Sam’s workers, but for those considered “excepted employees,” there could be a nice salary bump thanks to rules allowing overtime, compensatory time and other benefits provided to those the administration feels too important to furlough.

In advance of the potential shutdown, the Office of Personnel Management distributed a 30-page “Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs” that spells out who will get what, if anything, if President Obama and House Republicans can’t negotiate a break in the budget stalemate by Monday night, the end of the fiscal year.

Most workers won’t be considered excepted employees, but OPM emphasized that it’s not because their work isn’t valued.

“Excepted employees include employees who are performing emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property or performing certain other types of excepted work,” said the guide.

As a result, they won’t receive pay during the shutdown, though in the past Congress has approved backpay.

But for those called in to work, the guide reveals they will be eligible for extra pay. “Excepted employees who meet the conditions for overtime pay, Sunday premium pay, night pay, availability pay and other premium payments will be entitled to payment in accordance with applicable rules, subject to any relevant payment limitations,” said the guide.

Comp time is also available, said the guide.

And while current federal workers might see their pay cut, retirees won’t. “Federal retirees,” said the guide, “will still receive their scheduled annuity payments on the first business day of the month.”


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