For the first time in nearly five years, the federal government is operating under a partial shutdown caused by gross Congressional failure to do its most important job.  At this writing, it is unclear how long the current shut-down will last, but most pundits are betting that it will be substantially shorter than the 17 day ordeal seen in 2013.  Here are a few things contractors need to know:  1.  If your contract is paid for by appropriated dollars, it is on hold.  Don’t deliver goods.  Don’t send people to agency worksites unless you have received specific, national security related direction, in writing, from your customer. 2.  While federal employees will likely get back pay to make them whole, contractor employees that work on a government site will not, unless your company can pay them from other funds.  3.  If your contract is funded by other money, you should already have been told by the customer and, presumably, work will continue to at least some extent.  If your firm supports vital systems you similarly should have already received instructions on what is expected of you.  Keep good records during this time so that you do, in fact, get paid for work your client required you to perform during the shutdown.  4.  Keep in mind that the entire government is not shut down.  Some of your customers are at work.  You may not be able to visit them in person and they may be a bit distracted right now, but some parts of the government definitely continue to operate.  Calling and e-mailing specific customers will quickly give you an idea of what, if any, business might be possible to discuss.  Unless that business is funded by a non-appropriated source, however, there will be no actual contracts let.  Stay tuned for further developments here.