You may be surprised to hear that the recent shutdown of the United States government has several human resource implications for all employers – both public and private. With an estimated 800,000 federal employees now on unpaid leave, many government offices and agencies will be temporarily out of reach.
Though federal labor and employment laws will remain in full effect, you may hit a few roadblocks during this shutdown. Here are a few of the more note-worthy impacts are:
1. The E-Verify program will not be operating during the shutdown. However, the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services have promised to offer guidance to employers attempting to use the E-Verify website.
2. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will operate with a skeleton crew. Any trials and hearings will be indefinitely postponed.
3. Many regulatory offices of the Department of Labor (DOL) will close, including the Wage and Hour Division and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Therefore, employers will have a temporary reprieve from non-emergency occupational safety and health inspections, wage and hour audits, and any hearings and appeals at the DOL.
4. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will also cease most operations. According to a statement on their website, they will “accept charges that must be filed in order to preserve the rights of a claimant during the shutdown, these charges will not be investigated.” In addition, they are canceling all mediations.
Keep in mind that not every agency or adminstration will be impacted by the shutdown:
1. The Mine Safety and Health Administration will remain open.
2. Postal services will remain fully operational through the shut down as the U.S. Postal Service is self-funded.
3. Anything related to national security, public safety, or programs written into permanent law (like Social Security) will continue.
4. Unemployment benefits will continue. Employers will still be required to provide requested information to state agencies and to appear for necessary hearings.
5. Paychecks for active-duty military personnel will continue. Service members currently serving will continue to receive pay thanks to a bill passed by the House and Senate, and signed by the President.
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