It’s ILLEGAL for federal employees on furlough to check their work email during the government shutdown

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 16:04 EST, 1  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 16:37 EST, 1 October 2013

Federal employees who have been furloughed  could lose their jobs if they check their work email during the government  shutdown.

The prohibition comes from an obscure law  known as the Antideficiency Act that was first passed in 1884, the  Washington Post reports.

Federal agencies say a violation of the law  could result in a termination of employment.

Oklahoma National Guard human resource specialist Major James R Baxter II calls up the notice he was tasked to send to federal employees slated for furlough 

Oklahoma National Guard human resource specialist Major  James R Baxter II calls up the notice he was tasked to send to federal employees  slated for furlough


The law bars the government from funding  certain services during a shutdown, which includes government-issued email  addresses.

Agencies could go so far as to take away  staff BlackBerrys, but most have instructed employees to power off their phones,  instead.

‘Due to legal requirements, working in any  way during a period of furlough (even as a volunteer) is grounds for  disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment,’ reads a  letter from the House Administration Committee that was obtained by Politico.

‘To avoid violating this prohibition, we  strongly recommend that you turn your BlackBerrys off for the duration of the  furlough.’

A man tries 

A man tries to get into the closed Internal Revenue  Service’s offices in Midtown after nonessential work was halted due to the  United States federal government shutdown in New York, New York


The prohibition against using work email goes  into effect the moment that a furlough begins.

That means that if employers haven’t had a  chance to notify employees that they have been furloughed before a shutdown goes  into effect, they can’t resort to using work email as a means of  notification.

The Office of Personnel Management recommends  using ‘800 numbers and emails to home email accounts’ once a furlough begins.

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