Speed Reads

Government Shutdown

There are plenty of government workers still waiting for their back pay

The government shutdown ended almost two weeks ago, but there are plenty of workers still waiting to receive their back pay, and many are worried that another shutdown might be around the corner.

People working for a variety of agencies either have not yet been paid, The Associated Press reports, or they've just received a small portion of what they are owed. Doug Church of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association said people who worked during the shutdown have not received their overtime pay, which violates the Fair Labor Standards Act. Donna Zelina's husband works for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in South Dakota, and she told AP he's been given only part of his back pay, and doesn't expect to be fully paid for another week. Her creditors wouldn't work with her during the shutdown, she said, adding, "I don't think people really understand what people do in government and just assume that everybody ... makes millions of dollars."

Contract workers were hit hard by the shutdown, as they are not entitled to back pay. John Kelly, vice president of government affairs and public policy for the nonprofit SourceAmerica, says his group has helped find government contract jobs for about 2,000 people with disabilities. Many worked as custodians and in mail rooms, and had a difficult time finding jobs in the first place. Kelly said that as of Wednesday, close to 60 percent still have not been called back to work.

The Census Bureau told AP that about 850 employees have not received back pay yet, and the Interior Department would only say a "small group of employees" are still waiting for their checks. A spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget told AP an "overwhelming majority of employees received their pay by Jan. 31." He did not answer questions about how many government workers are still waiting to be paid.