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Mon Jan 28, 2019, 03:05 PM

Not Expecting Back Pay, Government Contractors Collect Unemployment, Dip Into Savings


Archaeologist Greg Seymour loves his job in the Great Basin National Park, whose 77,100 acres straddle the Utah-Nevada state line. "I'm working on a historic orchard that was planted in the 1880s," he says. "Heirloom trees."

But Seymour, a 62-year-old contractor with the National Park Service, has been out of work since Dec. 22. That's the day funding for the Interior Department and eight other federal departments ran out amid a political standoff between Congress and President Trump over his demand for money to build a wall along the border with Mexico.

"They sent e-mails out letting all of us know that work for them that we're furloughed until further notice," says Seymour.

What's more, Seymour has little hope of being compensated for all the time he's being furloughed from his $35-an-hour job.

"I know that the federal employees can get that," he says of the back pay that the 800,000 federal workers who've been idled or are working without pay expect once the shutdown ends. "But in this case, since I don't work, I don't get paid. So I'm out of luck."

And so are many more of the 4.1 million people who New York University federal workforce expert Paul Light estimates work under federal contracts estimates because, unlike for federal employees, there is no national database tracking the number of contract employees.

"We've got a very large federal workforce with a majority of employees who are not on Uncle Sam's direct payroll," Light tells NPR. "They will not get paid for this unpaid vacation, and I'm not sure how they'll recover if this shutdown continues much longer."

Through no fault of their own, thousands of American workers were robbed of their pay and will never get back pay. Some even lost their health insurance.

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Reply Not Expecting Back Pay, Government Contractors Collect Unemployment, Dip Into Savings (Original post)
IronLionZion Jan 2019 OP
SeattleVet Jan 2019 #1

Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2019, 03:38 PM

1. Yep - when I was a fed contractor I got zero during the shutdown.

If contractors aren't working, they aren't going to be paying you.

Got a call from my company one morning, and they told me to stop whatever I was doing immediately and leave the premises. I had 3 systems running software updates at the time. I wasn't even allowed to finish the task...was told to just get up and walk out. Made for a lot of extra work when the shutdown was over, without any extra time/pay to get it done.

The feds came under different rules, so they could get paid for the time they were locked out.

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