Welcome back everyone from the July 4th holiday and the government shutdown – back to normal business.
As the dust settles on the state shutdown and getting back to work, we know there are a few questions that remain. Although the budget was signed in the early morning hours of July 4th and CWA leadership continued to work on these issues during the Fourth, the reality is many of the State decision-makers will be returning to work today. Nothing comes easy with the current Administration so we often have to fight to get what is right, even when the answers should seem obvious.
So, we are working to secure clear and consistent answers to all of these as soon as possible. We expect to have these clear answers – not rumor – today or by the end of the week. Please stay tuned and we will broadcast an update with clear information as soon as possible later today. We are aware of all of these and we will be sending out answers when they are confirmed.
Here are the immediate questions we are working on:
Q. Will I be paid for Monday? How do I code my time in timesheets?
A. We are working to confirm this information and make sure all state Departments and Judiciary are on the same page. We expect to broadcast an update soon. Gov. Christie has made statements about not paying for the Monday lockout. The Union’s position is clear that the shutdown was a lockout not due to any workers’ unwillingness or inability to work. We have contract language and other regulation and statute we will enforce if necessary. The budget that was adopted contained appropriate funds to pay for Monday as part of our annual salaries. Please stay tuned.
How you code your time in timesheets will be sent out by Departments as they are also waiting for guidance and a firm resolution.
Q. Will the July 4th holiday paid?
A. Legislative leadership made it clear that pay for the holiday was included in the budget. Gov. Christie confirmed this in a press conference during the shutdown. Again, we are working to develop a clear and consistent answer to this and will broadcast to membership shortly.
Q. What happens if I put in for vacation or sick time on Monday – do I get it back?
A. There is past practice on this issue. We are sorting out answers to this with the State and Judiciary and will advise members ASAP.
Q. Am I eligible or should I file for UI for Monday?
A. At least one State department sent around an email with instructions to file for Unemployment, but it is NOT official guidance. This is extremely premature since the issue of being paid for Monday is not yet confirmed. Please wait for guidance from CWA on this issue. If members should file for UI, the Union will provide advice on that.
Q. I was designated as essential and worked Saturday, Sunday, or Monday – am I guaranteed to get paid? How do I code my time in timesheets?
A. Any employee who was designated essential and directed to work during the shutdown must be paid. Departments will be advising how to code time, but by default you may just code your time as normal work time.
Again, we know this situation is frustrating and we will continue to work to get answers or tell you the Union’s positions on any issues in dispute. The good news is our activism and pressure contributed to ending the shutdown. As usual, the Union will be part of the cleanup as well.
Thank you for everything you do. Stay tuned for important updates over the next couple of days.