updated 4/7/2011 12:36:35 PM ET 2011-04-07T16:36:35

More than half of federal managers and employees surveyed Wednesday said their agencies had not shared plans with them for implementing a shutdown of operations if funding for federal agencies runs out Friday night — and nearly as many didn't know whether they would be subject to a furlough or not.

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A total of 56 percent of the 1,200 people who responded to the survey said their agency had not shared a shutdown plan with them, although almost one quarter — 24 percent — expect to receive notification of a plan this week. Most respondents indicated they were at the GS-12 level or higher.

More than half of respondents said they did not know whether they would have to report to work during a shutdown. Twenty-three percent said they knew they would be excepted from a furlough and would be on the job.

The e-mail survey of 1,200 federal managers and employees was conducted by National Journal and Government Executive's research arm, the nonpartisan Government Business Council, on Wednesday afternoon.

Video: Boehner: Closer last night than this morning (on this page)

The survey also showed that agency morale is taking a hit as a result of the protracted budget battle. A plurality of respondents (48 percent) rated morale in their agency as "low" or "very low." Only 13 percent considered their agency's employees to be motivated right now.

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One-third of federal managers believe it is likely they will receive retroactive pay for the shutdown period. A full 44 percent are less optimistic and believe it is either "unlikely" or "highly unlikely" that they will receive back pay for the shutdown period.

A little more than 45 percent of those surveyed said they would cease all use of agency-issued mobile devices, such as laptop computers and BlackBerrys, in a shutdown, with another 40 percent saying their agencies had not provided such devices to them.

Respondents said they hold congressional Republicans and Democrats most responsible for the potential shutdown, above the White House and the tea party.

The article, "More Than Half of Feds Don't Know Whether They'll Be Furloughed," first appeared in the National Journal.

Copyright 2012 by National Journal Group Inc.

Video: Boehner: Closer last night than this morning

Explainer: What happens during a government shutdown?

  • Image: Boehner and Cantor
    Brendan Smialowski  /  Getty Images
    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor listens while Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks to the press Tuesday about a possible government shutdown.

    The White House and Congress have until Friday to reach agreement on an elusive federal spending-cut bill — or face a partial shutdown of the government beginning the next day.

    Relatively few federal employees work on weekends, so the impact of a shutdown likely won't be felt much until Monday morning when millions of them are set to report to work.

    It's been 15 years since the last government shutdown over spending disagreements. Here are some facts about what could happen.

  • Furloughed employees

    Based on previous shutdowns, several hundred thousand federal workers could be idled as nonessential, disrupting all but vital U.S. services such as national defense, emergency medical care and air traffic control. In addition, some employees of federal contractors may also be furloughed.

    Since 1980, all federal agencies have been required to have updated plans for potential shutdowns that include who would be furloughed and who would be kept on the job.

    Essential personnel in the last shutdown — employees who remained on the job — included members of the U.S. military, federal criminal investigators, those involved in federal disaster assistance and workers vital to keeping crucial elements of the U.S. money and banking system up and running.

  • Tax time

    Unlike the last two shutdowns, both of which occurred in the 1990s, this one would take place during tax preparation and filing season. That could mean delayed tax refunds to an untold number of Americans, congressional aides say.

  • National parks and museums

    The last shutdown closed much of the federal government from December 16, 1995, to Jan. 6, 1996. National parks and museums were closed, an estimated 200,000 applications for U.S. passports went unprocessed and work on more than 3,500 bankruptcy cases was suspended.

  • NIH and toxic waste

    Also during the last shutdown, new patients were not accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health, hotline calls to NIH about diseases were not answered, and toxic waste cleanup work at 609 sites stopped.

  • Veterans and the elderly

    A shutdown may be felt on a number of fronts, including delays in approving import and export licenses and new benefits for military veterans, congressional aides say. Processing new Social Security applications may also be delayed, but checks for retirees are expected to go out on time.


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