“Essential” and “non-essential.” The partial shutdown of the federal shutdown has put some Iowans into those two different categories if they work for the federal government.
For the most part, essential workers have to keep showing up to work, non-essential employees have been told to go home. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to pay workers lost wages once the shutdown ends. The question is, which employees should be considered essential?
The Iowa National Guard has had to decide not all of them, while Fourth District Republican Congressman Steve King has decided all of his employees are essential.
The Iowa National Guard announced hundreds of employees are not allowed to work. Here’s part of a release the guard sent out:
As a result of the continuing federal government shutdown, these additional actions will be executed by the Iowa National Guard:
-Beginning Oct. 4, 16 full-time State of Iowa employees working for the Iowa National Guard will be temporarily laid off for up to 20 days. An additional 95 State employees will be temporarily laid off for up to 30 days beginning Oct. 18. Currently, more than 1,000 full-time federal technicians of the Iowa National Guard were furloughed on Oct. 1 and will remain furloughed until the shutdown is resolved. Furloughed/laid off employees will not receive pay for the duration of the furlough, may not be in a paid leave status, but will retain and accrue benefits. Approximately 1,000 full-time employees remain on duty for the Iowa National Guard, including Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) military personnel and federal technicians.
-The 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City has cancelled drill scheduled for Oct. 5-6. Training and drill for all other Iowa National Guard units and personnel scheduled for Oct. 1-10 was previously cancelled. Rescheduling of all cancelled training assemblies will be announced at a later date after the shutdown has ended.
Meanwhile, Roll Call reports Congressman King hasn’t furloughed any of his staff during the partial shutdown. King said, “I want to make sure that we have people here to answer the phones, to respond to the needs that we have, to deal with any legislation that we might be able to work.”
First District Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley announced his staffing plan prior to the shutdown. A memo shared with his staff said this: “Approximately 75 percent of our staff will participate in a furlough plan. Furloughs will affect both Capitol-based and Iowa-based employees.
Regardless of whether workers are deemed essential or non-essential, most are not getting paid during the shutdown.