Author Topic: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?  (Read 5329 times)

kimmarg

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Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« on: January 20, 2018, 07:26:41 AM »
Federal employees, how do you feel about the shutdown from a financial perspective ?  During the last shutdown I had a broken furnace so I spent the entire time with no hot water worried about paying the large repair bill with not enough savings.  4 years later of saving and I'm not at all stressed if my next check comes- not yet FIRE but plenty of buffer - feels good!

wenchsenior

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2018, 08:15:05 AM »
We won't be investing as long as there are no pay checks coming, but it shouldn't cause financial distress.

Mostly it is a MASSIVE pain in the ass for my federally employed husband, whose work certainly won't stop even though he technically isn't allowed to do it.  Just like last time, he'll keep working anyway, off the clock and without pay.

We just now got a call from one of his students, who is supposed to be going to the field this weekend in a federal vehicle.  He now has to arrange a different vehicle for her to use, possibly at the additional cost of a rental.

Shutdowns are moronic.


Roadrunner53

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2018, 08:27:07 AM »
Does this mean the FBI doesn't get paid or CIA? How does that affect Donny's protection?

Gin1984

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2018, 08:31:33 AM »
Does this mean the FBI doesn't get paid or CIA? How does that affect Donny's protection?
The president's security is considered an essential service.  They won't get paid until the budget is set but they will get back pay.  I'm curious if Paul Ryan made the congressional gym essential this time, like last time.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2018, 08:43:37 AM »
Doesn't Paul Ryan also sleep in his office even though he gets a stipend for an apartment?

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2018, 10:09:59 AM »
I grew up in DC and you could always tell who had been in the Fed. Gov. for while and who was a newbie during a shutdown. The newbies were worried about their future, whether they were going to be paid, job security, etc. The old pros knew the deal with how these things went down and were focused on finding the best spot to user their super bonus vacation days while being within a short enough distance so they could return quickly and not use any "real" vacation days when the government opened again.

I'm guessing Ocean City, MD really wishes gov. shutdowns would happen in the summer rather than in the bleak of winter.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 10:51:11 AM by YttriumNitrate »

wudged

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2018, 10:48:22 AM »
Doesn't Paul Ryan also sleep in his office even though he gets a stipend for an apartment?

sounds rather mustachian to me

Gin1984

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2018, 01:16:50 PM »
Doesn't Paul Ryan also sleep in his office even though he gets a stipend for an apartment?
Not exactly, he sleeps (or slept, I have not checked recently) in his office even though there is a apartment set aside for the speaker of the house.  It is being paid for even though he does not use it.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 01:37:46 PM by Gin1984 »

Mr. Green

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2018, 01:34:19 PM »
All the feds got paid retrospectively after the last shutdown so no one lost money, it just wasn't an even flow for a while. On the other hand I knew some government contractors whose contract's ending coincided with the shutdown and some guys sat home for a month waiting to hear when their contract finally had funding again. That was money never to be seen. Talk about a raw deal. I'd bet money they restore federal pay again.

ysette9

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2018, 01:55:06 PM »
I work for a gov contractor. We got a memo yesterday saying that if the shutdown continues the company will have to evaluate whether they can continue paying us, whether to use mandatory vacation or furloughs or revised work schedules. In the previous shutdown our customers on some programs weren’t at work, so we couldn’t get some stuff done, but most of us continued as usual. It does matter how long this childish behavior lasts. We shall see.

horsepoor

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2018, 02:37:19 PM »
I would only start worrying if it drags on for several weeks, but I doubt that will happen.  We just finished a pay period on Friday, and assuming things work like last time, we'll still get paid at the normal time for that.  If we go back to work within two weeks, and a resolution to pay for the furlough time is passed quickly, there will essentially be no disruption in our paychecks.  Last shutdown happened partway through a pay period, so we got one smaller check, then after going back to work, it was surprising how quickly payroll processed payments for the furlough time.

My husband is also Federal, but is essential, so he will have to continue to work without being paid.  It's not a financial hardship for us, but would definitely be harder for someone who has a long commute or childcare expenses that make it expensive to be at work every day.  It's probably toughest on young parents in that sense.  He is just a bit bitter that I got paid while sitting at home while he trundled off to work; hopefully his agency handles it better this time.  Last time they didn't have many facts, but made some vague threats about being AWOL if you took previously approved leave and generally drove morale even lower than it needed to be.

kimmarg

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2018, 06:01:53 PM »
I would only start worrying if it drags on for several weeks, but I doubt that will happen.  We just finished a pay period on Friday, and assuming things work like last time, we'll still get paid at the normal time for that.  If we go back to work within two weeks, and a resolution to pay for the furlough time is passed quickly, there will essentially be no disruption in our paychecks.  Last shutdown happened partway through a pay period, so we got one smaller check, then after going back to work, it was surprising how quickly payroll processed payments for the furlough time.

Yea timing is better this time. Because it's the end of the pay period the only lost pay out of the next check is for people who are scheduled to work today (Saturday) since they can only pay through 12:01am.

« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 06:09:04 PM by kimmarg »

seattlecyclone

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2018, 07:29:01 PM »
We won't be investing as long as there are no pay checks coming, but it shouldn't cause financial distress.

Mostly it is a MASSIVE pain in the ass for my federally employed husband, whose work certainly won't stop even though he technically isn't allowed to do it.  Just like last time, he'll keep working anyway, off the clock and without pay.

We just now got a call from one of his students, who is supposed to be going to the field this weekend in a federal vehicle.  He now has to arrange a different vehicle for her to use, possibly at the additional cost of a rental.

Shutdowns are moronic.



That's messed up. I don't volunteer my time to my employer, and I certainly don't incur personal expenses that my employer should be paying, just so that I can go work on a day off when I'm not supposed to be working.

If I got terminated or a bad performance review for failing to work without pay, I'm sure I could find an employment lawyer who would love to take my case.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2018, 07:45:02 AM »
If I got terminated or a bad performance review for failing to work without pay, I'm sure I could find an employment lawyer who would love to take my case.
One time, the firm I was working for tried to pursue a contingency case in the Court of Federal Claims...it was decided that would never be done again. A defendant with an army of attorneys on staff, an unlimited defense budget, and the ability to change the laws mid-case is not one to be trifled with.

wenchsenior

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2018, 08:47:24 AM »
We won't be investing as long as there are no pay checks coming, but it shouldn't cause financial distress.

Mostly it is a MASSIVE pain in the ass for my federally employed husband, whose work certainly won't stop even though he technically isn't allowed to do it.  Just like last time, he'll keep working anyway, off the clock and without pay.

We just now got a call from one of his students, who is supposed to be going to the field this weekend in a federal vehicle.  He now has to arrange a different vehicle for her to use, possibly at the additional cost of a rental.

Shutdowns are moronic.



That's messed up. I don't volunteer my time to my employer, and I certainly don't incur personal expenses that my employer should be paying, just so that I can go work on a day off when I'm not supposed to be working.

If I got terminated or a bad performance review for failing to work without pay, I'm sure I could find an employment lawyer who would love to take my case.

It IS messed up.  If DH worked a more 'traditional' federal job, he'd be more inclined to agree with you.  But he's in research and academia, with multiple ongoing research projects, co workers in academia and other agencies, and his own graduate students, all of whose work and schedules are negatively affected if he doesn't work.  Those parts of his job can't be 'put on hold' easily without creating much bigger problems later.   During the last shutdown, he was barred from traveling to his regular field site to do research that is co-funded by several private entities.  So the private partners' monetary investment in support and technicians went to waste for several weeks while the Principle Investigator of the research was stuck at home, frothing with rage.  And the data that would normally be collected during that standardized time-period were not collected, either.

"Officially", nonessential Feds aren't allowed to work during furlough.  Of course, nearly all of them working DH's type of position do so as much as they are able to anyway, without egregiously violating the stupid rules (e.g., DH is not allowed to go to his office, even if he needs paperwork etc., so he had to plan ahead and bring home a lot of material, just in case).  For the most part, people in his position keep working as much as they can get away with, so as to keep working relationships intact, keep obligations to their students, and yes, waste less money.

In fact, I got a work-related email this very morning from a different Fed who happens to be my supervisor in one of my jobs.  So he's working from home, as well.  On a Sunday during furlough.

Those lazy lazy Feds!  :sarcasm: 

Mac_MacGyver

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2018, 10:04:27 AM »
Weather wise in the D.C. area it's looking like a pretty good week for a shutdown, other than Tuesday it will be sunny and relatively warm.

sol

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2018, 10:15:03 AM »
"Officially", nonessential Feds aren't allowed to work during furlough.  Of course, nearly all of them working DH's type of position do so

Research jobs, like many salaried positions, are paid based on output instead of the number of hours you put in.  If we put in fewer hours during a shutdown, our job performance suffers and we get penalized. 

It's more like being a farmer than a pilot.  A pilot either flies or doesn't fly, and either gets paid or doesn't get paid as a result.  A farmer invests in a long term product that requires months and months of attentive effort, and you can't just ignore it for a month without damaging your yields.  Crops need to be tended, whether you're getting paid or not, because the only payoff comes at the end when you produce.

So yes, most of the science types I know are still working.  Unfortunately, all of their support staff (admin/budget/travel/safety/IT/technicians) are NOT working, so it's a little harder than normal.

...

So far the shutdown doesn't feel very real, because it's a normal weekend and I still have to report to work on Monday morning so they can tell me how to leave.  There are rules about changing your email settings, updating your office voicemail, looking after vulnerable government property like animals that can't be abandoned, turning in work cell phones, finalizing any outstanding paperwork like credit card statements that will get billed whether we're shut down or not, securing government vehicles for storage, and establishing channels of communication for reactivation.  That last one is apparently "please watch the news and be prepared to show up 8 hours after funding is restored".  So, no vacations for me unfortunately.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 10:19:13 AM by sol »

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2018, 10:19:51 AM »
Mainly I am grumpy.  I had an emergency fund last time, I have an emergency fund this time.  I'm grumpy/angry that I might have to use my emergency fund to pay for expenses because politicians have chosen to make me a pawn once again.

Oh and I wish I hadn't booked a trip last week, not for the trip or cost but for the timing. 

Catbert

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2018, 01:12:49 PM »
I've been retired almost 10 years so I missed the '13 closure.  But the one before that was a big yawn for me.  However, initially, everyone who was furloughed was completely pissed off and frantic.  Then when it was all over, the furloughed employees got paid for the time off so so everyone who worked was pissed off because they didn't get free vacation time.

Metta

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2018, 01:38:08 PM »
My husband teaches military officers. He is a contractor. They will not be cancelling class (which is basically a good thing) but he is owed partial payment on his contract from an invoice he turned in two weeks ago. It looks like they will not process his pay until the shutdown is over. It isnít affecting us in a major way because we are FIRE but it seems a bit crazy to me that the government behaves this way.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2018, 03:31:16 PM »
I wonder if Americans know how strange this all seems to someone from another country, with perhaps the strangest bit being that employees apparently aren't paid over the shut down period. Even during the quakes that shut down the entire city here, employees continued to be paid. The gov actually implemented a scheme to help small businesses afford to continue paying employees. It doesn't seem right that a bunch of folk who can't agree can stop a million more people from being paid! Perhaps I'm misunderstanding things....

wordnerd

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2018, 04:35:25 PM »
I wonder if Americans know how strange this all seems to someone from another country, with perhaps the strangest bit being that employees apparently aren't paid over the shut down period. Even during the quakes that shut down the entire city here, employees continued to be paid. The gov actually implemented a scheme to help small businesses afford to continue paying employees. It doesn't seem right that a bunch of folk who can't agree can stop a million more people from being paid! Perhaps I'm misunderstanding things....

It is indeed strange. On the pay issue, federal workers only get paid if Congress passes a bill to grant them pay for the shutdown period. During every shutdown (at least since the 90s) Congress has passed a bill, and workers have gotten back pay after the shutdown is over. But nothing is guaranteed, and with American politics as they are right now, I'm not sure precedent matters much.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 04:39:41 PM by wordnerd »

Metta

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2018, 05:21:22 PM »
Huh, most schools shut down. Good for them continuing.

Training exercises are planned for months in advance but now we can't get fuel for the trucks. Schools cancelled because of contracted or non-essential civilian instructors. I think the Departments writ large do a pretty good job making sure nothing vital drops off, but it's annoying when they shut everything down, nothing we've planned actually happens, and then they ask why we didn't execute this quarter's budget "planned expenditures." :\

Since my husband is hired on a yearly contract and is paid three times in the year  and since the building on the Base is operated by a consortium of civilian institutions that provide space to various educational institutions (including the military post-graduate schools), they are not affected by the shut down. My husband thinks that the military may have learned from the last time and made arrangements to bullet-proof their program in this manner. What this affects is the timing of his second check, which will now be delayed. This is why we never count on money until it is in our bank account.

Your situation sounds quite frustrating.

kimmarg

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2018, 06:34:39 PM »
I wonder if Americans know how strange this all seems to someone from another country, with perhaps the strangest bit being that employees apparently aren't paid over the shut down period. Even during the quakes that shut down the entire city here, employees continued to be paid. The gov actually implemented a scheme to help small businesses afford to continue paying employees. It doesn't seem right that a bunch of folk who can't agree can stop a million more people from being paid! Perhaps I'm misunderstanding things....

It is indeed strange. On the pay issue, federal workers only get paid if Congress passes a bill to grant them pay for the shutdown period. During every shutdown (at least since the 90s) Congress has passed a bill, and workers have gotten back pay after the shutdown is over. But nothing is guaranteed, and with American politics as they are right now, I'm not sure precedent matters much.

This is only true for furloughed employees. Employees who are considered "emergency essential" (or whatever they are calling it this time) are required to work and will still get paid...eventually. So air traffic control, border patrol, FBI, etc are all still working and will get paid but since the payroll people are not 'essential' their paychecks may be late.  For mustachians this may not be an issue but for some paycheck-to-paycheck folks not getting your check causes heartache even if you will get paid eventually.

MoolahLula

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2018, 07:30:21 PM »
I feel OK about it.  Iím essential.   If my most annoying coworkers have to stay home while I work, Iím hoping itíll feel like a break to me.  Iíll get paid eventually. 

the_fella

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2018, 08:24:57 PM »
Aren't most federal employees unionized? I'm not a federal employee, but the union I'm in will not allow us to work for free (and I have been asked to do this). I'd think the same would be true of the federal employees' union.

Sailor Sam

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2018, 10:12:27 PM »
Federal employees, how do you feel about the shutdown from a financial perspective ?  During the last shutdown I had a broken furnace so I spent the entire time with no hot water worried about paying the large repair bill with not enough savings.  4 years later of saving and I'm not at all stressed if my next check comes- not yet FIRE but plenty of buffer - feels good!

I'm currently executing a Permanent Change of Station. Anyone currently using federal money to travel has been ordered back to their home base, but I exist in a grey zone where I have no home base to return to.

My plane landed in Boston at 2200 on Friday, so that will be paid for. Plus, the flight was charged to some gov't wonks warrant, and not my credit card. However, the hotel and rental car are going on my personal card. I'm braced for some sort or massive fuckery and runaround in getting reimbursed for those. I also suspect my 4 days of proceed time will somehow be magically eaten. 

I have a large emergency fund, so I'm not worried about supporting myself if I miss a paycheck or five. Financially I'll be fine, and I'm finding the shutdown kind of amusing from a personal aspect. It's making for a great end to an already complicated PCS story. The amusement is pretty tenuous, though. Tomorrow I may receive an email saying my leave is canceled, and that is going to piss me off to the moon and back.

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2018, 07:05:02 AM »
I wonder if Americans know how strange this all seems to someone from another country, with perhaps the strangest bit being that employees apparently aren't paid over the shut down period. Even during the quakes that shut down the entire city here, employees continued to be paid. The gov actually implemented a scheme to help small businesses afford to continue paying employees. It doesn't seem right that a bunch of folk who can't agree can stop a million more people from being paid! Perhaps I'm misunderstanding things....

It is indeed strange. On the pay issue, federal workers only get paid if Congress passes a bill to grant them pay for the shutdown period. During every shutdown (at least since the 90s) Congress has passed a bill, and workers have gotten back pay after the shutdown is over. But nothing is guaranteed, and with American politics as they are right now, I'm not sure precedent matters much.

And it is only during shutdowns.  For a disaster, employees are granted "Administrative Leave" and paid for days in which their offices are shut.

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2018, 07:07:50 AM »
Aren't most federal employees unionized? I'm not a federal employee, but the union I'm in will not allow us to work for free (and I have been asked to do this). I'd think the same would be true of the federal employees' union.

Some are in Unions, some are not allowed to be in Unions.  Even those in Unions are in "different" kinds of unions than even state employees.  Mainly because when your employer "writes the laws." 

wenchsenior

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2018, 07:08:41 AM »
Aren't most federal employees unionized? I'm not a federal employee, but the union I'm in will not allow us to work for free (and I have been asked to do this). I'd think the same would be true of the federal employees' union.

Some are unionized.  I don't know if most are.

DH's position is not unionized, for the reasons Sol outlined above.  He's expected to work as long as and much as required to meet the job obligations of research, teaching, and professional service.  E.g., he can't 'punch a clock' when he's out in the field with a student, where hours of work during research data collection can easily run 16 hours per day for several months and there is no office to go to.  'Overtime' is a given in those situations.  The upside is DH has incredible autonomy to set his own hours, and doesn't have to report to the office every single day (how could he?).  The bad news is, there is no 'punching out,' and when field season is over, you don't get those 'overtime' hours back in the form of vacation or extra $.  Those are just the hours needed to meet the deliverables.  If it is a grad student project, the student is in the same situation. They put the hours required in, on their fixed salary, and are not paid for them.  If they do a good job and have a bit of luck, they will have data worthy of a degree at the end of a few years' time.

wordnerd

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2018, 09:56:42 AM »
I wonder if Americans know how strange this all seems to someone from another country, with perhaps the strangest bit being that employees apparently aren't paid over the shut down period. Even during the quakes that shut down the entire city here, employees continued to be paid. The gov actually implemented a scheme to help small businesses afford to continue paying employees. It doesn't seem right that a bunch of folk who can't agree can stop a million more people from being paid! Perhaps I'm misunderstanding things....

It is indeed strange. On the pay issue, federal workers only get paid if Congress passes a bill to grant them pay for the shutdown period. During every shutdown (at least since the 90s) Congress has passed a bill, and workers have gotten back pay after the shutdown is over. But nothing is guaranteed, and with American politics as they are right now, I'm not sure precedent matters much.

And it is only during shutdowns.  For a disaster, employees are granted "Administrative Leave" and paid for days in which their offices are shut.

Yes. The issue with a shutdown is that there is no appropriation of funds, so no commitment for payment can be made until there is another appropriation (otherwise, it's an "unauthorized obligation," which is against the law). In the case of a natural disaster, there is still an appropriation in place, so employees can still be paid.

Catbert

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2018, 11:28:08 AM »
Aren't most federal employees unionized? I'm not a federal employee, but the union I'm in will not allow us to work for free (and I have been asked to do this). I'd think the same would be true of the federal employees' union.

Some are in Unions, some are not allowed to be in Unions.  Even those in Unions are in "different" kinds of unions than even state employees.  Mainly because when your employer "writes the laws."

Yeah, when your employer "writes the laws" unions aren't able to negotiate over pay or benefits at all.  They can argue over parking spaces though. 

simonsez

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2018, 12:21:20 PM »
From a financial perspective to my individual situation - it is annoying.  Was likely going to pull the trigger on buying a house next month.  Will now wait until this and taxes are sorted.  I am non-essential.  If I get back pay, this will be a very minor issue unless the furlough continues for months.  In the near zero chance I do not receive back pay and the furlough lasts months - yeah that'd be a big deal.

As a taxpayer - it is incredibly frustrating (definitely more so than my perspective as a fed - though to be fair it is likely that due to being a fed I am more familiar with the inefficiencies involved).  The amount of time and money that goes into contingency plans, shutdown protocols and the reverse, and catching up with work* all so politicians can play legislative poker is a giant middle finger to the taxpayer.  And if everyone gets back pay - it's just so silly that the shutdown couldn't have been averted in the first place.

*-I work in surveys.  If unit response rates are below a certain threshold we cannot publish the data.  Thus, whenever we have hurricanes or government furloughs, or any other detrimental interruption many of us work OT (read: more taxpayer money) in order to keep the projects in a good place with regard to response rates.  I am sure there are many fed jobs that will require an atypical number of hrs/week for a period after the furlough is ended.

Jaayse

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2018, 02:26:45 PM »
As a military member I'm not all that affected by the shutdown.  I still go to work, I do my job, I may not get paid by next pay period, but USAA and Navy Federal would give me a 0% interest loan for around the same amount as my pay would have been if I request it.  Since I'm overseas, all of the extras are still funded here while they are not INCONUS since I wouldn't have an equivalent available in the economy, like the commissary and the movies, etc.  The biggest things would be those who are traveling right now (ouch SailorSam), and the fact that the majority of my office is made up of civilians, so a lot of people aren't there, which doesn't really affect my particular job. 

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Re: Feds- how do you feel about the shutdown?
« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2018, 08:52:32 PM »
Well, we are back to work tomorrow, then the whole thing starts again in a few weeks.  Hopefully a budget will be passed before the 11th hour, but I doubt it.