Federal workers clocking-in without pay - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Federal workers clocking-in without pay


Thousands of federal workers stayed home on Friday as the government entered day four of the shutdown.

While those workers were furloughed, thousands more were required to go to work without any guarantee of getting paid. U.S. Marshal David Gonzales hopes the shutdown ends before his employees face bigger problems at home.

"We're working on a handshake and a promise," Gonzales said.

A promise saying employees of the U.S. Marshals Service will get paid, albeit eventually. 

U.S. Marshals Service workers are considered "exempt" employees, requiring them to go to work whether Congress pays them or not. 

After previous shutdowns, Congress has awarded these workers back-pay although it is not required. However, Congress must first end the shutdown to get payroll moving again.

"Losing a paycheck, you know, two weeks has a devastating effect," he said.

The bills are mounting for workers in the U.S. Marshals Service, Border Patrol, as well as federal prison guards and other federal employees who fall under the "exempt" status.

Capitol police in Washington handled Thursday's deadly chase and shootout without any guarantee of getting a paycheck. One officer was injured. 

In federal prisons, working inmates still collect their pay while the prison guards go home empty-handed because their paychecks come form a different coffer in the federal budget.

"We have to come to work and we are not getting paid until the government passes a budget," a prison union representative said.

While employees struggle to pay the bills at home, the federal agencies who employ them are stretching the dollars in their budgets as well. According to Gonzales, the U.S. Marshals Service is keeping on eye on its funding on an "hourly basis."

"There's a lot of adjustments to make, a lot of tweaking, a lot of sandpapering," Gonzales said.

All of these agencies currently have no budget and therefore, no funding until Congress reopens the doors of the federal government.

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