The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the official White House agency in charge of federal-workforce policies, issued this brief FAQ Thursday night about what people can expect in the event of a federal-government shutdown, which appears likelier by the minute.
Q: Who are Excepted Employees?
A: In the context of shutdown furloughs, the term "excepted employees" is used to refer to employees who are funded through annual appropriations who are nonetheless excepted from the furlough because they are performing work that, by law, may continue to be performed during a lapse in appropriations. "Excepted employees" include employees who are (1) performing emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property, (2) performing minimal activities as necessary to execute an orderly suspension of agency operations related to non-excepted activities, or (3) performing certain other types of excepted work. Agency legal counsels, working with senior agency managers, are determining which employees are designated to be handling "excepted" and "non-excepted" functions.
Other employees are "exempt" from furlough because they are not affected by a lapse in appropriations. This includes employees who are not funded by annually appropriated funds. It also includes those Presidential appointees who are not subject to a Federal employee leave system-i.e., who are entitled to an annual salary without consideration of the hours of duty required and thus cannot be placed in nonduty/nonpay status. (NOTE: Non-career SES and Schedule C employees do not fall into this category.)
All other employees funded through annual appropriations are not able to work during a "shutdown" and will be furloughed. ...
Q: Will excepted employees be paid for performing work during a shutdown furlough? If so, when will excepted employees receive such payments?
A: Agencies will incur obligations to pay for services performed by excepted employees during a lapse in appropriations, and those employees will be paid when Congress passes and the President signs a new appropriation or continuing resolution.
Q: Will employees who are furloughed get paid?
A: Congress will determine whether "non-excepted" employees receive pay for the furlough period.
See the whole FAQ at OPM's website.