Workers get first shutdown pay stub: $0
Federal employees received pay stubs with nothing but zeros on them Friday as the effects of the government shutdown hit home, deepening anxieties about mortgage payments and unpaid bills.
An estimated 800,000 government workers missed their paychecks for the first time since the shutdown began.
Employees posted photos of the pay stubs on Twitter and vented their frustration as the standoff over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall entered its 21st day.
On Saturday, it will become the longest shutdown in U.S. history.
“I saw the zeros in my pay stub today, and it’s a combination of reality setting in and just sadness,” air traffic controller Josh Maria said after tweeting a screenshot of his paystub. “We’re America. We can do better than this.”
The missed paychecks were just one sign of the mounting toll the shutdown is taking on Americans’ daily lives.
Roughly 420,000 federal employees were deemed essential and are working unpaid. An additional 380,000 are staying home without pay. While furloughed federal workers have been given back pay in previous shutdowns, there is no guarantee that will happen this time even though Congress passed legislation this week requiring that all government workers receive retroactive pay after the partial shutdown ends.
Workers are turning to Uber, Lyft and other side gigs to pick up some money in the meantime.
But many say the side gigs aren’t making much difference.
Economists at S&P Global said the shutdown has cost the U.S. economy $3.6 billion. The typical federal employee makes $37 an hour, which translates into $1,480 a week, according to Labor Department data.
Federal workers and supporters protest the government shutdown Friday in Boston. The shutdown began Dec. 22.