Potential Shutdown: Federal Contractors’ Contingency Planning

By Leslie A. Stout-Tabackman September 25, 2015

A federal government shutdown looms as current funding is set to expire on Sept. 30 and government leaders continue to disagree on funding legislation. Federal contractors need to prepare for the possibility of a shutdown, which could occur Oct. 1, or sometime in December or early 2016.

The present shutdown threat is fueled by two primary issues, set against the backdrop of presidential election posturing by both political parties.

President Barack Obama has announced that he will not follow the sequestration cuts the government forced upon itself in 2013 (the last time a partial government shutdown occurred), when it failed to agree on funding. Conservative Republican leaders have promised to link the defunding of Planned Parenthood to passing spending legislation. While leaders of the Republican-controlled Congress have vowed to avoid an unpopular government shutdown, this same vow was made in 2013.

The 2013 partial government shutdown lasted two weeks and caused havoc for many government contractors, anduncertainty with respect to a host of employment and labor laws implicated when funding suddenly stopped and employees could not report to work. While some contractors were able to secure retroactive funding to cover or defray labor costs associated with the 2013 shutdown, such funding varies from agency to agency, and from contract to contract—which can make planning difficult.

As of this writing, a shutdown may occur on Oct. 1, or a temporary funding measure may be passed to postpone a possible shutdown until December or early 2016.

Contractors can start their contingency planning by visiting our articles providing practical advice on the many employment and labor law concerns linked with a government shutdown:

Leslie A. Stout-Tabackman is an attorney with Jackson Lewis in its Washington, D.C., region office. Jackson Lewis represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Republished with permission. © 2015 Jackson Lewis. All rights reserved.


Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Search Jobs


Find the Right Vendor for Your HR Needs

SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies

Search & Connect

HR Daily Newsletter

News, trends and analysis, as well as breaking news alerts, to help HR professionals do their jobs better each business day.