SEA Moves to Stem Impact of Federal Shutdown

Association, Governor Agree to Allow Furloughs for Workers Who Would Otherwise Be Laid Off

The irresponsible and senseless shutdown of portions of the federal government has entered into its third week and state government is beginning to feel the effect on federally funded programs. “As the funding for programs begins to dry up, the state of New Hampshire is left to mitigate the after effects to critical programs like WIC, which provides critical assistance for pregnant women, infants and children, or the Social Security disability determinations,” said SEA President Diana Lacey.

Working closely with Governor Hassan, the SEA and the State of New Hampshire have reached an agreement to reduce the harm the shutdown will cause to citizens and state employees if Congress continues its shutdown. The action provides workers that may otherwise face layoff the ability to be partially or fully furloughed on the temporary and unknown basis the shutdown has created. The agreement will only impact workers that are already in positions that are partially or fully funded by federal programs whose funding has run out thanks to the shutdown. The best way workers can help is to call Congress and demand that they end the shutdown. You can reach your representative and senators by calling 1-866-426-2631.

To see Governor Hassan’s press release, click here: http://bit.ly/1cpBY7e.

President Lacey addressed the shutdown’s impact at the SEA Board of Directors meeting on October 10. After thoroughly discussing the options the contract provides and the uncertainty the shutdown poses, the Board authorized President Lacey to negotiate and enter into such agreement. “I am so proud that we’re moving together to address this crisis in a way that will have the least impact on critical services. The State Employees are committed to the work they do even if Congress is not. We are putting people first, not politics,” said Lacey.

The agreement makes clear that the Board, the Governor, agency heads and employees are all going to work hard to protect NH’s citizens and employees. A copy of the agreement can be found here: http://bit.ly/1cSdMgv.

NH’s Congressional delegation is working hard; there are at least four votes in Washington that are keeping us all in mind. Depending on how long the shutdown continues, there may be efforts made to help citizens and employees through this crisis. SEA members have stepped up in other times of crisis, doing food drives for those hardest hit. That may happen again if things don’t turn around.

It is important to note that not all employees that are in federally funded positions will be impacted. Even those employees that receive a furlough notice may not actually face furlough if the shutdown ends before their two week advanced notice expires. Different federal programs will run out of money at different times, so employees should not anticipate widespread furloughs at this time.

Some workers may end up with a shortened or modified workweek, depending on which federal program is impacted, particularly if the workers are involved with multiple programs. That’s why we are developing a frequently asked question document that will be released tomorrow. Additionally, contracted services may be similarly impacted depending on the funding source, service delivery and payment schedule, and other provisions. The agreement with the SEA will not prevent contracted services from being harmed; the Governor is working to minimize all impact from the shutdown and we will continue to work together through this crisis.

 

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