More than a month has passed since end of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, and several hundred inquiring TSA agents are still left wondering: Where’s our money?
An estimated 1,000 Transportation Security Administration workers are still waiting for the full reimbursement of the back pay they’re owed for working during the government shutdown, CNN reported on Friday, citing a source with knowledge of the situation.
In an effort to curb the resulting sick outs by hundreds of employees who weren’t getting paid to work because President Donald Trump wanted money for his border wall, the TSA paid one week of a two-week paycheck to employees. At the time, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said the partial pay would “alleviate some of the financial hardship many of you are facing.” Unfortunately, that’s created a new problem, per CNN:
A TSA official who is “frustrated with the situation” said the delay in pay is a self-inflicted wound. The official, who spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to speak to the media, blames it on Pekoske’s actions during the shutdown.
“The problems are with pay period 26,” the official said, referring to the final two-week pay period of 2018 that was partially paid as an incentive to try to keep workers who were calling out on the job. TSA said at the time that one week of back pay was paid out.
“It appears as though their effort to partially pay people screwed things up and they are still getting their act together,” the source said.
As a result, TSA’s help desk has been inundated with calls from workers about delayed checks, according to a partial transcript of a phone call with TSA headquarters obtained by the network. On the call, Karen Shelton Waters, the assistant administrator with the TSA’s HR department, said the timing of the partial payment “could not have been poorer,” saying they got approval for the payments “almost simultaneously with the time funding was restored,” resulting in this mess.
In a statement to CNN, TSA said about 1,000 of its 60,000 employees “require some sort of pay correction” and that it’s still processing the corrections, but declined to comment further. For now, it’s still unclear when TSA employees can expect to receive their full compensation, remaining back pay and all. God, is this ever going to end?