What Happens if the Shutdown Exceeds 30 Days?

by | Jan 21, 2019

Last Updated January 18, 2023
What Happens if the Shutdown Exceeds 30 Days?

Monday, January 21, 2019, marks the day that the shutdown has dragged on past the 30-day mark. This means agencies must send a 2nd furlough notice to non-excepted employees.

“After the first 30 days in a furlough status, agencies are required to deliver a 2nd furlough notice to currently furloughed employees,” the Office of Personnel Management said. “When a shutdown goes beyond 30 days, agencies should treat it as a 2nd furlough and issue another adverse action and furlough notice.”

The original notices furloughed employees received on the first day of the shutdown expire January 21st. Most of the 300,000 furloughed employees received a message at the start of the shutdown saying, this furlough is not expected to exceed 30 days. Therefore, it expires on January 21.”

The new notices are to be delivered to affected employees either by email or U.S. mail, according to OPM. These 2nd notices will expire on February 19.

Employees who have been recalled such as those processing tax refunds or performing safety inspections will not receive these 2nd notices, only those still furloughed.


Agencies won’t conduct targeted layoffs, or Reductions in Force if the shutdown hits the 30-day mark. Federal statute instructs agencies to RIF groups of employees who have been placed on furlough status longer than 30 days. However, this does not apply during a government shutdown.

According to OPM, there are 2 kinds of furloughs— “administrative” and “shutdown, or emergency” furloughs.


These are planned events by an agency “designed to absorb reductions necessitated by downsizing, reduced funding, lack of work or any budget situation other than a lapse in appropriations,” OPM guidance says.

Shutdown or Emergency

These occur during lapses in appropriations and are out of the agency’s control.

Some 800,000 employees missed their 1st paycheck in 2019 and now face the likelihood of missing their 2nd. The 2nd pay period for most civilians ended January 19th.

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