Last week, the Treasury Department released a revised contingency plan for the government shutdown under which more than 46,000 of the approximately 70,000 IRS employees would be required to return to work to process tax refunds and get ready for tax filing season, but the majority of them would be unpaid, as the IRS plans to start tax season on Jan. 28 even if the shutdown continues.
The shutdown is now in its 33rd day, and hundreds of thousands of federal government employees are expected to miss their second biweekly paychecks this Friday.
The National Treasury Employees Union issued a statement on January 22, 2019, about how many IRS employees are able to use a provision in their union contract known as a “hardship exemption” that allows them to stay at home when they don’t have money to pay for transportation to work or for child care.
“After a Month with No Pay, Real Hardship Does Exist for
IRS Employees Including Not Having the Money Needed
to Get Back and Forth to Work or to Pay for the
Child Care Necessary to Return To Work Right Now,”
said NTEU National President Tony Reardon.
“Emergencies can occur at any time so the hardship exemption can be requested during a lapse in appropriations when an employee is suddenly unable to return to work. That is why the exemption exists. The longer employees go without pay, more face financial hardships.”