Along with other government agencies, the White House sent a message to its staff with the critical logistical instructions for preparing for a shutdown if one occurs — including a mandatory directive to furloughed employees to turn off their work phones.
Staff have been asked to enter their personal contact information so they can get updates on their personal devices. If they are furloughed, they will not be allowed to access their government phones. If a shutdown occurs, an email sent Thursday and obtained by CNN said, they will be notified in a text to personal phones and an email to personal and government emails.
There are three categories of employees:
- Exempt employees, who are scheduled to report to work as normal
- Excepted employees, who will be notified of that status by their leadership, also report to work as normal
- Furloughed employees
“If a shutdown occurs, employees should consider themselves furloughed unless told by their component leadership or authorized supervisor that they are exempt or excepted,” the email said.
Furloughed White House employees, the email said, are authorized to complete “orderly shutdown activities on their next scheduled work day for a period not to exceed four hours.”
When the shutdown is over, a message will be sent to personal devices, at which point they are allowed to “check your devices for additional instructions.”
The email acknowledged the “uncertainty” as Congress has failed to resolve the issue of government funding.
“We understand uncertainty can be unsettling. Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and patience through this process, and for all that you do for the Executive Office of the President and the American people,” it said.