Okay, then, the government is … closed for business? Alrighty. You know what you’d do if you had a bunch of bickering employees who decided they weren’t going to turn up for work until everything in the office went their way? Yep. You’d shitcan them! But, this is Congress, so we’ll just give them robust, free health benefits, bulky pensions and let them come back when they’re ready to play again.
So, while they’re off at Martha’s Vineyard lazing on the porch of their little 12 bedroom cottage, what happens to the agencies that oversee the workplace?
Day Pitney LLP has put together a briefing for you. Here are the highlights:
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB): All NLRB field offices will be shut down. Services affected include: representation and unfair labor practice charge docketing, investigations, hearings, complaints, and settlements; injunctions and enforcement actions; and administrative law judge and board decisions. Eleven employees (the five Board Members, the Acting General Counsel, and a few others who hold senior leadership positions with the agency) are the only individuals the agency currently exempted from furlough. Additional staff may be called to handle emergencies during the shutdown.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): The EEOC will continue to function with 107 (out of 2,164) staff members nationwide. During the temporary shutdown, the agency will continue to docket new charges and federal sector appeals. It also will litigate lawsuits where continuances are not granted by the court and will seek injunctive relief as necessary. While the EEOC is accepting new charges during the shutdown, it will not investigate those charges. The EEOC also will not conduct mediations or process FOIA requests during the shutdown.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): OSHA will temporarily cease all operations except for those which relate to “emergencies involving the safety of human life or protection of property.” Two hundred and thirty staff members will continue to work at the agency through the shut down and will be able to respond to safety and health complaints which involve potentially hazardous conditions that “present a high risk of death or serious physical harm.”
Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD): The WHD will suspend operations and will furlough all but six employees.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Employment and Training Administration (ETA): Fee for service activities performed by the USCIS are expected to continue because they are funded by sources other than appropriated funds. During the temporary shutdown, USCIS expects to furlough only 353 of 12,558 employees. Consular operations domestically and overseas, run by the State Department, will remain 100% operational only as long as there are fees to support those operations. However, E-verify temporarily will be shut down, and the ETA will not process any foreign labor certifications needed for some employment-based visas during the period of a temporary shut down.
SHRM also has some info on what the EEOC will do during the shutdown and how it will affect employers.
Wow. Shame that all the people at these agencies who have been furloughed haven’t been invited to the Vineyard with the Congressmen who gave them their unwanted, unpaid vacations…