The Difference between an Administrative Furlough and a Shutdown Furlough

There are many misconceptions on what a furlough actually is and how a furlough works in reference to federal employees. There are two different types of possible furloughs. There are administrative furloughs and a government shutdown furlough. The long and short of the different is administrative furloughs are planned events and a government shutdown is an unplanned event.

Administrative furloughs can be by government agency that has scheduled reductions in force (RIFs) for budgeting reasons, not enough work for employees, a lawsuit or other foreseeable situation. It is up to the budgetary funding on which employees would remain receiving pay and those that would not. In most cases of administrative furloughs pay is reimbursable.

In the case of a federal government shutdown, government agencies, which have reserved funds for mandatory employees budgetary funds, would use this method in case of an unscheduled shutdown. This is technically namely called a “emergency” shutdown. “In a shutdown furlough, an affected agency would have to shut down any activities funded by annual appropriations that are not excepted by law.” In most cases, unless the federal agency has reserved funds for such an event, employees will be ordered to shutdown and not return to work until mandated to do so.

Either way, both furloughs have lasting effects on the Nations economy and the United States citizens as a whole. For more information on government furloughs go to