California Offering Unemployment Benefits to Federal Workers Hurt by Shutdown


California is offering unemployment benefits to federal workers affected by the ongoing partial government shutdown. The state is defying the Trump administration’s regulation that it cannot provide benefits to furloughed workers or those working without pay.

On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom met with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees at the Sacramento International Airport. He told them that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) sent an e-mail prohibiting eight states including California from doing their plan. The governor called that DOL’s order “jaw-dropping, extraordinary, and beyond right.”

California will not back down to threats

Newsom vowed that California will not step back from its decision to provide unemployment benefits He said, “So, the good news is we’re going to do it and shame on them. We need to make sure that all the EDD (Employment Development Department) folks are familiar with the commitment…”

In a tweet, the governor reiterated his position. He wrote, “We’re not going to back down to threats from this administration. While leaders in Washington might not be doing their job, federal workers who are vital to keeping our country running and safe are doing theirs. We’ve got their backs.”

On January 11, the California EDD encouraged furloughed federal workers to call toll-free number (855) 327-7056 to file for unemployment insurance benefit.

At the time, EDD Director Patrick Hanning said, “We encourage all federal employees in California to call us at the number established specifically for them to apply for unemployment benefits that can provide financial relief during the shutdown.”

On the other hand, state’s Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Julie A. Su, said, “Timely access to unemployment benefits may be of enormous help to furloughed federal workers and those who are working without pay.”

According to EDD, unemployment benefits range from $40 to $450 per week depending on a worker’s earnings and available for 26 weeks.