Shutdown means double pay for Oregon federal workers

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by Shelby Sebens| Northwest Watchdog

How about we send you home and give you twice your normal salary? Sound like a good deal?

In Oregon, about 1,300 federal workers will get double the pay for time off during the 16-day partial government shutdown.

DOUBLE DIP: Federal workers in Oregon will get double the pay for time off the job.

Because of an administrative rule in the Beaver State, Oregon officials cannot require those federal employees to pay back state unemployment benefits they received during the shutdown despite the fact they are getting back pay from their employer, said Craig Spivey, public information officer for the Oregon Employment Department.

The rule was written to help private sector workers on long layoffs, Spivey said. With another government shutdown possible in a mere months, Oregon will take another look at this regulation, he said.

“We are currently reviewing that rule in lieu of this situation,” he told Northwest Watchdog. “The rule that was written was not written for this type of situation.”

In addition to federal labor laws, each state has its own administrative rules, so Oregon may be alone in letting federal workers double dip on the taxpayers’ dime.

Spivey said about 4,400 federal workers in Oregon applied for unemployment benefits during the shutdown and 1,300 were eligible. He said the rule applies because, until this week, lawmakers hadn’t passed a resolution guaranteeing the back pay for government employees. He said workers who were off this week won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits because Congress passed a bill to provide them back pay.

Spivey said the total dollar amount of state unemployment benefits to those federal employees is still being calculated.

UPDATE (10/25/2013): Oregon federal workers must repay jobless benefits

Contact Shelby Sebens at [email protected]

Northwest Watchdog is a project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity

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Posted by at 12:32 | Posted in Federal Budget, Federal Government, Unemployment | 17 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • guest

    For the public sector, yet another blissing in disquise outside their PERS.

    • Guest

      Federal workers don’t get PERS. And, perhaps you didn’t truly read the article, this rule evidently applies to all workers. Not just public employees.
      However, keep commenting and don’t let facts get in your way.

      • guest

        No OR PERS for FEDs but plenty of COLA attending their own generous retirement system. Also note in OR, FED retirees ‘sumhow’ managing to secure exemption from State Income Tax liability. How nice!

        As for the brouhaha attending Oregon unemployment checks going to arbitrarily furloughed Feds who will be recompensed for their too-bleak vacation, full pay plus an Oregon unemployment assurance kicker unless recall is sounded. Gore figure!

        Meanwhile, the private sector gets nil, zilch, whatever – save for another kick in the ‘shinscan’ over and over again..

        • Guest

          And whose fault would that be?

          • guest

            Certainly not Tea Party types recognizing Ronald Reagan’s astute quote: “Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them. “

  • Guest

    Will they get double the pay.. or paid twice? I don’t believe unemployment pays the same as regular wages? I could be wrong about that.

    • .

      Whatever the payout, it will be tantamount to a emboldened golden fleecing taken for working taxpayers in the private sector who earn their income the old fashioned way. They earn it!

      • Guest

        I think your average public employee also works for their money. As for this “double dipping” it sounds like it would apply to private sector workers as well. Or didn’t you catch that?

        • guest

          Never have double dipped. Might be enticing to some workers yet remains unlawful or at least unethical. Whether public sector friendly Oregon will seek recovery remains to be seen.

          If there’s a Dianne Linn type in charge of the Revenue Department, don’t count on it.

  • JackLordGod

    As I understand the rule – you do not have to pay back UI if you were of the belief you would not get back pay. Since congress had not agreed to pay back pay until some time into the shutdown, workers are not required to repay for benefits received prior to that time.

    It is hard to see the sense in this rule either way. If you received UI, your knowledge or lack of it regarding back pay at the time really doesn’t affect anything.

    With UI rates in OR three times what they were before BO took office it would seem to me the emphasis should be on getting those rates down rather than handing out freebies.

  • Steven

    They are underpaid to begin with, so this just helps make up for the difference.

    • .

      You lie like the rug barely covering the less than an ounce of common sense ponging around your numbskull.

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