Would a shutdown equal layoffs for contractors?

Over 20 percent think so, but most will keep working

With the government at risk of shutting down March 4, contractors are busy making preparations to support customers and employees who may not be able to work.

In an online survey, we asked what companies would be doing if the government shuts down. The choices were: keep working, lay off staff, send staff for training, and move staff to other projects.

The overwhelming answer – 56 percent – was to keep working, but 23 percent of respondents said they expected layoffs.

Fifteen percent said they would move staff to other projects, but only 4 percent said they would send staff for more training.

More than 100 readers have taken the survey so far. Click here to take the survey.

Other government shutdown coverage:


About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

Reader Comments

Tue, Mar 1, 2011

I think what they need to do is offer all the retirement age people a good package and see if they will retire. Since 70% of the IRS is over retirement age, they could save a lot of money.

Mon, Feb 28, 2011

If the Feds get furloughed, the contractors have no one to support. Thus, they go home first. Call it a layoff or something else, but in my agency, the contractors cannot keep working.

Mon, Feb 28, 2011 Puregoldj Washington, DC

I imagine the 23% expecting layoffs expect layoffs more because of reduced budgets. The actual shutdown may not last long. People don't like it when government services aren't available. Unfortunately many of the yahoos in Congress don't seem to understand that wholesale slashing of government budgets is going to mean the loss of many jobs. Since they have taken off the table any sort of tax or fee increase, and are looking for something dramatic, I am afraid that all we are going to hear is talk about radical budget cuts.

Mon, Feb 28, 2011

So what about contractors providing on-site services under a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) Task Order? With the move to FFP contracts in recent years, even traditional T&M functions, such as IT Desktop and Help Desk Support moved to FFP. Will the government still be obligated to pay the contractor on that FFP contract for that shutdown period, thus wasting tax payer dollars even further?

Mon, Feb 28, 2011

Which contractors comprise the 56% you cite? My experience is that the corporate "powers that be" regard this as a time to control costs and "furlough" their employees. This move is often couched in patriotic support of our fellow federal workers. The difference? the feds get back pay, the contractor employees do not. The 15% moving to other projects are generally the middle managers who move themselves. And training? They don't train during the "fat times" in what universe do they train during the "lean times"?!

Show All Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above.


WT Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.