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Furlough

Definition: Temporary unpaid leave

Why It’s Relevant: During a federal government shutdown, all “nonessential” workers are furloughed. These workers are essentially on unpaid leave for the duration of the shutdown. While on furlough, federal employees are not able to “volunteer” to work for the government and even checking their work e-mail is a violation of federal law. Some parts of the federal government and some employees are not affected by a shutdown because they are supported by funding not tied to the annual appropriations process (e.g., mandatory spending). For additional information see, the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM’s) “Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs.”