Long-Term Financial Damage From Shutdown Hangs Like A Dark Cloud Over Federal Contractors
While federal employees' health insurance was safe, some federal contractors lost theirs during the shutdown as companies were unable to pay their premiums. And unlike federal employees, who have been promised full back pay in coming days, the millions of government contractors have no legal claim to the five weeks of lost wages now that the government has reopened.
The Washington Post:
‘It Feels Like We Are Still Hostages’: Federal Contractors Who Lost Health Insurance During Shutdown Remain In Limbo
Janice Morgan, a federal contractor out of work because of the government shutdown, spent part of January fearing that she might finally lose her husband, Milton, to his battle with multiple sclerosis. He was in intensive care. An infection had sent his heart rate and blood pressure soaring. And when she tried nine days ago to fill his prescription for a $7,600-a-month medication, another blow came: Her insurance coverage had been canceled. Morgan called her boss, the president of Unispec Enterprises, a contracting firm that provides personnel to government agencies. He told her that the shutdown had left him unable to pay the company’s premiums. Soon, all 75 of Unispec’s technical writers, data analysts and economists — most of whom have their coverage through the firm — would learn of the lapse in an email. (Davis and Satija, 1/27)
The New York Times:
‘Our Country Is Being Run By Children’: Shutdown’s End Brings Relief And Frustration
Some cried with relief. Their 35-day nightmare of missing bill payments, working without paychecks, asking strangers for money and visiting food pantries was finally ending. But many of the federal workers who have been furloughed or working for free since December were leery of the three-week deal reached on Friday to reopen the government. New worries gnawed: How long before they got paid? Would federal contractors see even a dime of back pay? (Healy, Taylor and Bernard, 1/25)