The federal government shutdown – day 33 – work without pay

I wrote about the federal shutdown of 2013 on October 14 of that year. That was a 16 day shutdown, and I don’t know if employees worked without pay. 

I work (part time) for a public institution in New Jersey, and it is NOT LEGAL for me to work without being paid immediately. I’m limited to working 944 hours per fiscal year. One year in June, things got busy and I knew I would run out of hours a few weeks before the new fiscal year started. I OFFERED to continue working and collect my pay later. The answer was…

  • NO
  • Against the law
  • Can’t do it
  • Don’t even think about it!

A supervisor (in another department) who ignored this rule and delayed payment of (consenting) part time workers was reprimanded and had a strongly worded letter entered into his personnel file. He wasn’t fired, but he accepted a job offer elsewhere a short time later.

So this is the law in the State of New Jersey. Why it is possible for federal employees to work without being paid is completely INCOMPREHENSIBLE to me.

What’s behind the New Jersey law? It protects the employee.

  • The employee might (for who knows what reason) never get paid.
  • Employees might be pressured into accepting delayed paychecks.
  • A person might work enough hours to trigger mandatory benefits of which they would be unaware (and that the employer doesn’t want to pay).

To me, the present inability of our government to function is very, very ominous.


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