Lapse in Appropriations Guide 
Updated: 1/11/2019 at 1100

During a government shutdown, or lapse in appropriations, only exempt missions and positions funded from exempt sources may continue in order to prevent a violation of the Antideficiency Act (ADA). This pamphlet is designed to assist CG employees in determining what those functions and activities are, and who can perform them. 


  • The Antideficiency Act prohibits agencies from incurring obligations that are in advance of, or that exceed, an appropriation. 
  • With certain limited exceptions, the CG may not incur obligations when the funding source for the obligation is an appropriation that has lapsed.

Current Policies

  • Several key messages will be posted on the CG General Message Board prior to, and at the commencement of, a lapse in appropriations. 
  • Prior-years' messages and information pertaining to procedures and policies for a lapse in appropriation can be found at the following link:\Lapse (CAC required)

During a Lapse
Changing Employee Status

During a shutdown, situations arise that require units to recall non-exempt employees to carry out exempt missions/functions. In such situations, the CG may recall the minimum number of non-exempt employees required to effectively respond to the specific need.
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  • Unplanned or unexpected project or activity that qualifies as an exempt function.
  • A determination that existing exempt functions require additional personnel.
  • A need to replace an exempt employee who is unable to work.

Each request shall be routed from the requesting unit to the servicing RMO. RMOs will utilize process/templates provided at (CAC required) to submit recall packages to CG-83 for formal processing.

Furlough of Excepted employee: when an excepted employee is unavailable to work for a period of time (generally for several days or more due to illness or emergency) they must be furloughed until able to return to work.

Replacement requests to recall non-exempt employees to work in excepted positions may be submitted at any time. Replacement requests may be submitted when an excepted employee is unavailable to work for a period of time (generally for several days or more due to illness or emergency) and a non-exempt employee is needed to perform the work. Requests are submitted by the servicing RMO to CG-83 and are approved by CG-12.

Workforce Pay

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    1. Exempt employees paid by O&S AFC-08 (i.e., reimbursable funded billets): Exempt employees, whose pay is direct expensed from the O&S AFC-08 account (appropriation short code 901) should not submit time cards. Based on funding restrictions, payment for hours worked and leave cannot be made until the lapse concludes. Records of hours worked and leave approved for each employee by pay period must be maintained by the supervisor or employing organization. Time cards will not be validated and certified until further notice.
    2. Exempt employees not paid by O&S AFC-08: Exempt employees who are paid by the Yard Fund, R&D, EC&R, or Boating Safety (e.g., an appropriation short code other than 901) should submit timecards using normal procedures so long as funds are still available. Payment for hours worked and approved leave will continue.
    3. Excepted employees: Excepted employees accrue CG payroll obligations for hours worked after the lapse in appropriations. Excepted employees are entitled to receive payment for obligations incurred by the Coast Guard for their performance of excepted work during the lapse in appropriations period. After appropriations are enacted, employees will receive payment for time worked during the lapse in appropriations. For time periods of situational furlough (e.g., the 24 December 2018, 25 December 2018, 1 January 2019 or other time not worked) payment for the furloughed time cannot be made unless legislatively authorized. Records of hours worked and leave approved for each employee by pay period must be maintained by the supervisor or employing organization. Time cards will not be validated and certified until further notice.
    4. Non-exempt employees: Non-exempt employees cannot be paid for furloughed time unless legislatively authorized. Time cards will not be validated and certified until further notice.
  • If a lapse extends to within a few days of the end of a pay period, scheduled paychecks may be delayed.
  • Pay earned after the lapse will be paid to members once an appropriation or CR is passed.Monthly allotments will be deducted as scheduled.
  • Retiree: Payment is subject to the availability of unobligated balances.


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Domestic travel for exempt or excepted personnel in support of exempt or excepted activities must be approved by the first O-6/GS-15 in the chain of command. An approval in any written form (e.g. email) is acceptable. For domestic travel, this approval must fully document the nexus to an exempt or excepted activity and must be retained for future audit.

  • International travel requires written approval by the Under Secretary for Management (USM) at DHS. Requests should be routed from the first Flag Officer/Senior Executive Service (SES) in the chain of command through the RMO to CG-83. However, this requirement does not apply to Coast Guard military members performing excepted field activities necessary for the protection of life and property, which require international travel to fulfill those duties, or for any personnel permanently assigned overseas performing exempt or excepted activities. For either exception, written authorization must still be approved by the first O-6/GS-15 in the chain of command.
  • All Flag Officer/SES travel during a lapse in appropriations must be approved by the Vice Commandant (VCG). The Flag Officer/SES travel request form is located on the Commandant (CG-832) Appropriations Lapse Portal Site at: All Flag Officer/SES travel requests must be submitted to CG-83 ( NLT the Tuesday prior to the week of the requested travel period. Commandant (CG-83) will coordinate the concurrent review process by CG-LGL and CG-092 for VCG decision by Friday of the same week.

Workforce Timeline

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  • Exempt: Report to work as normal.
  • Non-exempt but required for orderly shutdown: At supervisor direction report to work for no more than four hours. Receive furlough letter.
  • Non-Exempt: Do not report to work. Supervisor will issue furlough letter NLT next workday.
  • Paid leave is cancelled for all civilian employees.
  • Military not on leave: Report to work as normal.
  • Military on leave: Remain on leave unless recalledby command.

Budget Execution

The Coast Guard will continue operations authorized by law to include national security and protection of life and property. 
Special attention shall be paid to the following:
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Not applicable during a lapse in appropriations.Funding targets will be provided once a newCR or appropriations bill is enacted.

  • The Coast Guard is required to provide justification for all obligations made during a lapse. Unit COs shall ensure that all obligations are for excepted missions. Routine purchases must be avoided. The bona fide need must be clearly cited, recorded in the procurement documentation, and must be maintained for future review.
  • If financial systems are not available to record obligations, transactions shall be entered into the system when normal operations resume.
  • Purchase card vendors shall continue to accept mission critical charges, though the

Obligations in support of excepted functions and/or activities are authorized during a lapse in appropriations. Unit Commanding Officers, Officers in Charge, and supervisors shall ensure that all unit obligations made during the lapse in appropriations are in support of excepted activities and the bona fide need is clearly cited, recorded in the procurement documentation, and maintained for future review. Obligations in support of excepted activities are authorized regardless of the account balance in FPD and do not constitute an ADA violation.

Prior to Lapse
Exempt vs Non-Exempt

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  • Supervisors request changes to position categories through their personnel Resource Management Office (RMO).
  • Requests are vetted by the RMO & CG-833 to ensure alignment with DHS/CG policy.
  • CG-833 executes approved changes and provides the final list to RMOs, CG-1 & DHS.
  • Exempt - Funding Source: Not funded by annual appropriations (e.g. CG Yard); work as normal.
  • Exempt - Mission: Work authorized by law (e.g. SAR Controller); work as normal.
  • Non-Exempt: Prohibited from conducting government work unless directed for orderly shutdown.
  • Under a signed budget, updates to Civ categorization are solicited in March & Sept.
  • For a CR longer than three weeks, updates to positions are also made. 
  • For a CR less than three weeks, RMOs can submit ad hoc requests to update positions.
  • Supervisors must inform employees of their furlough category at the time of their appointment and routinely thereafter.

There are two broad categories of employees during a federal funding hiatus – exempt and non-exempt. The latter category can be further categorized by non-exempt employees in an excepted status.

Exempt: Employees funded by appropriations that have neither lapsed nor been exhausted, such as unobligated carryover balances and permanent appropriations. Examples of exempt employees include: Coast Guard Yard and those funded by the Boat Safety, EC&R, and R&D appropriations. 

Non-Exempt: Employees funded by appropriations that have lapsed or been exhausted. Non-exempt employees are subject to furlough, unless they are deemed to perform excepted functions.

Excepted: Non-exempt employees who may continue to work because their work supports an excepted activity as detailed in paragraph 3.

Excepted Functions/Activities: Functions and/or activities necessary for Safety of Human Life, Protection of Property or National Security may continue during a lapse in appropriations as described in reference (D), (E), and (H).To qualify under this exception, there must be some reasonable likelihood that the safety of human life, protection of property or National Security would be compromised in some significant degree by the delay in the performance of the function in question. The risk should be real, not hypothetical or speculative. 

  • CG provides a summary of consolidated exemptions categorized by mission, employees working under non-appropriated or reimbursable funding, and military positions.