- The government shutdown is now in day 27.
- 800,000 federal workers are going without pay and 380,000 have been furloughed, meaning they are on forced unpaid leave.
- 10,454 federal employees claimed unemployment insurance for the week ending January 5, according to the Department of Labour.
- The number of initial jobless claims from federal employees rose 5,694 from the week before and is up from 1,148 during the same week a year before.
The government shutdown is leaving many federal workers in a bind, and those employees are starting to turn to unemployment insurance to cover the pay gap.
The shutdown, which entered its 27th day Thursday, has left roughly 800,000 federal workers without pay. Many of those workers received their first $US0 paycheck last Friday. Around 420,000 workers are on the job but receiving no pay, while another 380,000 are furloughed, meaning they are locked out of work.
Given the financial stress on these employees – workers affected by the shutdown owe more than $US400 million in mortgage and rent payments this month – many are starting to turn to government unemployment insurance to help bridge the gap until the shutdown ends.
According to the Labour Department, 10,454 federal civilian employees filed a new unemployment insurance claim during the week ending January, an increase of 5,694 from the week before.
Typically claims among federal workers is low. As a comparison, only 1,148 federal employees made jobless claims during the same week in 2018.
Federal workers that are deemed essential – those who are working but not being paid – are not allowed to claim unemployment, according to guidance from the Labour Department. But those on furlough can get coverage in some cases.
The increase comes as more and more federal workers are struggling with the shutdown’s financial effects. Some federal employees have set up GoFundMe fundraising pages to help cover their expenses, and others have started to ration medicine to make it through the closure.
President Donald Trump kicked off the shutdown in December after refusing to support a short-term funding bill that did not provide money for his long-promised wall along the US-Mexico border. The president has so far not backed down from his demands, despite Democrats pushback, but did sign a bill that would provide furloughed employees with back pay once the government reopens.
Employees that are on the job will automatically receive back pay when the shutdown ends.
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