The majority of Americans think the government shutdown damaged the morale of federal workers, an Oct. 25 Washington Post-ABC poll says. About 82 percent said the shutdown brought down federal employee morale and when asked how much damage the shutdown did, 49 percent said it did serious damage, the poll says. About 33 percent said the shutdown did damage, but not serious damage.
Contractors working for the Internal Revenue Service owed $5.4 million in delinquent federal taxes, a recently released Aug. 30 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report says. As of June 14, 2012, about 5 percent of IRS contractor employees, or 691 out of 13,591, owed back taxes and 352 of those that owed taxes did not have a payment plan to resolve their tax debt, the report (.pdf) says.
Federal workers in same sex marriages can now benefit from family and medical leave, an Oct. 21 Office of Personnel Management memo says. The change comes as a result of the Supreme Court overturning a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act on June 26. OPM has been rolling out the changes to benefits including insurance and federal survivor benefits.
In September, the federal workforce lost 6,000 jobs leaving the government with 2,723,000 employees, new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows. In August, the federal workforce numbers came in at 2,729,000 and back in July, they totaled 2,736,000, the statistics (.pdf) show.
Federal employees who were furloughed due to the government shutdown are entitled to receive back pay under the continuing resolution that funded the government through mid-January. Thousands of furloughed federal employees also claimed unemployment benefits during the shutdown.
With the government up and running again, agencies begin to assess the effects the shutdown had on its workforce and finances. The shutdown cost the Defense Department $600 million in lost productivity due to furloughed civilian workers, DoD Comptroller Robert Hale said in an Oct. 17 press conference. Other costs can't be calculated yet, Hale said.
As federal workers report back to their offices this morning, it's uncertain how long it will take to get operations back to normal. The government hasn't had to reopen in 17 years and with technological advances along with each agency facing specific issues there isn't a governmentwide guideline to get everyone up and running quickly.
"It's hard to believe that what has happened was not the result of economic crisis, not the result of a war, but was a self-inflicted wound by people who frankly swear to make sure that they will do everything to protect and defend the Constitution of this country and this country," said Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
With the government shutdown moves through day 15, the federal workforce is still in flux and Office of Personnel Management guidance says furloughed workers will not accrue sick leave and vacation during the shutdown.
The National Transportation Safety Board furloughed 383 of its 405 workers during the shutdown, which caused it to suspend more than 1,000 investigations, said Acting NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman at an Oct. 11 Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing.