January 24, 2019

Oregon Members Call for Unemployment Insurance for All Federal Employees

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kurt Schrader, along with Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, and Peter DeFazio, sent a letter today to the Department of Labor asking to make clear that federal employees deemed “essential” or “excepted” may be eligible for unemployment insurance.

The Members wrote: “The 2013 Employment and Training Administration (ETA) guidance memo […] states that ‘essential’ or ‘excepted’ federal workers may be ineligible for Unemployment Insurance ‘because states may determine that they are still fully employed.’  This creates a dynamic where furloughed federal employees may apply for unemployment insurance, but ‘excepted’ federal employees, dedicated public servants, who are being required to perform their official duties do not necessarily have that same ability.”

Roughly 9,600 federal employees in Oregon are being impacted by the current shutdown. Those without “essential” or “excepted” status are eligible to apply for unemployment insurance which can bridge the lapse in their paychecks and help them to keep up with their bills.

“[T]hose who are deemed essential to show up, are not only showing up, they are serving under the most challenging conditions,” the Members continued. “ Their commitment is admirable, and we owe a debt of gratitude for their service. […] Each day the federal government requires ‘excepted’ employees to perform work without pay is untenable and the DoL has the authority to help ease that hardship by allowing these ‘excepted’  federal employees the ability to apply for unemployment insurance.”

Read the full letter here