What federal contractors should do during the government shutdown

WASHINGTON — Government employees aren’t the only ones who are wondering what they’ll be doing on Monday if Congress can’t reach a budget agreement; federal contractors are also facing a lot of uncertainty.

Depending on when their contract was funded, what agency they’re with, what they’re doing, and where they work out of, some contractors may continue working as if nothing has changed.

If the federal personnel the contractor works alongside is locked out, the contractor may be too.

There are a lot of variables at play and most of them look to be less than ideal for contractors, who in most cases will lose money during this ordeal. But while everyone hopes this will remain a short-term dispute, there are a couple of ways contractors can use the time away from federal job sites more productively.

“Maybe it’s time for their annual ethics training, for instance,” suggested David Berteau, the president and CEO of the Professional Services Council, a trade association that represents several hundred different federal contractors spanning all agencies and expertise.

“So, you might have an option that on Monday morning you’re bringing your employees in for their annual ethics training,” Berteau said. “You have to do it anyway and you’ll do it now. You’ll be incurring that loss of revenue anyway so you might as well use your employees for that overhead expense.”

Besides any mandatory annual training, Berteau said another possibility, even if now is not an ideal time for it, is for the employee to take some paid time off.

At this point, contractors should have heard from their agency’s contracting official about how to proceed. But as WTOP’s partner Federal News Radio notes, if your contract or grant still has obligated funds that have not expired yet, the work may continue.

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