The adjournment, suspension or collapse of power-sharing at Stormont would not only alter the political landscape in the North, it would also impact politicians’ pay packets.
The options would have very different consequences for how much individual MLAs and their parties will receive from the public coffers.
The salary scale at the moment ranges from £48,000 per year for an MLA who does not hold a committee post or ministerial role to the £120,000 paid to the first and deputy first ministers. The maximum MLA allowance to pay for office costs is £67,161 per year.
Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson both get paid up £120,000 at the moment as first and deputy first ministers.
If the Assembly is adjourned for a period of weeks or months to enable cross party crisis talks to proceed it is unlikely the current salary and expense scales would be affected.
However, if a more long-term suspension of the institutions is brought about, on the back of emergency legislation, then financial implications would be expected to follow.
In suspension, the power to reduce MLA pay and office allowance expenses would rest with the British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.
During the last period of suspension – from 2002 to 2007 – MLA pay was cut by a third from the then basic salary of £41,000 to £28,700.
If the institutions were to collapse entirely and be dissolved prior to the introduction of a new era of direct rule from Westminster then the current set of 108 MLAs would no longer hold Assembly seats and their pay would be expected to stop.