So... another government shutdown - Solvability
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Sometimes I get the government shutdown issue mixed up with snow days in the National Capital Region. It happens every once in awhile and there’s nothing you can do about it.

People always call me and say:

“what charge number do I tell my people to use?”

Great question. First decision is “who do you have to pay?” Do they take vacation or personal leave? Do you tell the hourly workers just to stay home and take leave without pay until the leadership at the top levels of the government finds a way to compromise? Which of your people are “essential personnel?” If they work on a military base or other installation, does that mean they are “essential?”

Here are the tactics that I have seen in the past….but do your own research and make your own decisions.

  • Tell your employees (except those you truly deemed “essential personnel”) to charge to vacation (or accrued leave or paid time off, whatever you’re calling that benefit), or if they don’t have leave, to charge to leave without pay. If the employee is exempt and salaried, you may be obligated to pay their salary even if they don’t have the vacation available.
  • Set up a charge number in the fringe benefit series of your accounting system and call it “Shutdown Pay.” Tell your salaried exempt people to charge there. Tell the hourly people they can take leave or take leave without pay. When the issue is resolved, you may have to get them to do adjusting time sheets to correct, because some of your contracts could allow this as direct cost and choose not to isolate it in anyway. Or it may need to be classified to their accrued vacation later.
  • Contact your prime contractors for any guidance on how your contract personnel are affected.
  • Freeze spending on everything because this shutdown will reduce your revenue for the time that you cannot bill your federal customer. The shutdown of the federal government comes out of your company profit this year, unless you are Fixed Price, in which case it doesn’t matter very much, or you are Cost Plus, in which you should be reimbursed unless the costs are deemed non-billable.

Here are links to articles from people that I follow and trust – take a look and see their thoughts on the 2018 Federal Government Shutdown.

Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy representing Florida’s Seventh District

Milt Johns of FH&H Law Firm

Barbara Kinosky of Centre Law and Consulting

What’s your prediction? How long will this last?

My bet is three days – that is what my gut tells me.


At the Florida GovCon Summit in Orlando on February 28 and March 1, 2018, we have an amazing lineup of speakers, covering Teaming, Targeting and Tactics for small businesses in federal contracting.

Connect with me if you’d like to learn more.