Government contractors may not get paid back after the shutdown is over

OKLAHOMA CITY - The government shutdown is nearing a full month, but there is a part of the workforce that may not get paid even once the shutdown is over.

Roughly 800,000 federal workers are impacted by the government shutdown. They are expected to eventually receive back-pay, according to Professor James Davenport.

However, that figure does not include government contractors.

"These are employees that don’t work directly for the federal government," Davenport said. "They work for a private sector company that provides services or goods to the federal government and since they are not federal employees, they’re not going to get the same benefits when the government shutdown has ended and they’re able to go back to work."

Their paychecks come from third-parties hired by the government.

"Let’s say I have a janitorial service and I clean buildings for Tinker Air Force. If the government shuts down, so they no longer hire me…my company to do that and I no longer send employees to do that work…those employees, I’m not going to get paid as a company for work that wasn’t performed which means those employees that work for me, they’re not going to get paid for work that wasn’t employed," he explained. "It can be rough. Some are having to look for second jobs or maybe first jobs. Maybe they’re looking to do something else and this is something people need to keep in mind. Sometimes working for a federal contract might sound like, oh this is going to be good. This is going to be stable. But there are times when you have conflict in government that are causes these types of periods."

Ileta Young, an electronic technician with the Federal Aviation Administration, is one many furloughed workers across the nation who have gone weeks without a paycheck.

Young, working directly for the agency, expects to receive back-pay once the shutdown is over.

"I hate to open up my utility bills, because there’s a bill I know I can’t pay right now and it’s been tough," she said. "You do everything right. You go to work on time and you do your job and you expect that by the end of two weeks, you get your pay and now it’s a big question mark of when and how long."

Recently she's spent more time volunteering at the Regional Food Bank.

"Since I’ve been coming here, it takes my mind of it for a little while. You’re helping people and you meet people and you laugh," she said. "At the end of the day, you can’t do anything about it. We’re just stuck in the middle of a mom and dad fight."

It's a fight, she says she hopes will end soon.

"For me, it’s food and utilities and gas. For others it’s food, utilities, gas and spouses and kids that have medical needs, you don’t play with people’s lives. you just don’t do that," she said.

On Monday, Jan. 21, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is hosting a mobile food distribution for federal employees and contract workers affected by the federal government shutdown.

The distribution will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oklahoma Expo Hall at State Fair Park.

For more information about the event, click here.

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