The majority of these contractors who find themselves ineligible for back pay are among the government's lowest-paid workers, earning between $450 and $650 a week. They're the cooks, janitors, and security guards, among others, who perform labor-intensive jobs that create the backbone of government offices, and museums, and agencies. And with another potential shutdown looming in mid-February, many of them will contend with a dent in their savings and little hope beyond their next paycheck.
“I did have a little money in the bank—now that’s all gone,” a Smithsonian employee tells The Washington Post. “I don’t have any help. My electricity might be turned off any day." It's clear that the effects of the government shutdown are far from over as her words echo sentiments of countless others shut out across the United States.
Last month, three Democratic senators proposed legislation that would ensure pay for contract workers up to $965 per week of lost income and reinstate the sick days many used during the shutdown. As our civil servants consider the bill, it doesn't hurt to call your senators to share your thoughts. While the shutdown has come to a halt, its repercussions are far from resolved.
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