Federal workers get their first post-shutdown paycheck ― and it’s a tiny one

Food distributions continue for federal workers affected by the government shutdown. (Image:...
Food distributions continue for federal workers affected by the government shutdown. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Feb. 5, 2019 at 6:04 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After well over a month without a paycheck, federal workers impacted by the government shutdown are finally getting back pay. But not all of it.

And with another shutdown looming, food banks remain packed with people who looking to save money any way they can.

On Tuesday afternoon, federal workers filed into the parking lot of the electrical workers union in Kalihi, loading up their vehicles with boxes of food.

In the first hour alone, volunteers handed out meals for more than 200 people.

All this in spite of workers getting paid four days ago.

Why the continued need?

“When the paychecks came out a lot of the workforce were texting me, calling me, saying my stuff is all messed up,” said AFGE chief union steward Joshua Christie.

Christie says although TSA workers were paid a paycheck and a half, they weren’t compensated for overtime, holiday pay or retention pay.

Medical and dental deductions were doubled ― along with union dues. And a larger percentage of their pay went to taxes.

Christie said, “Everybody’s paycheck was very minimal.”

Tax experts say it’s not a mistake. It’s just the way the payroll computers are set up.

“If you get a giant paycheck, it thinks you’re making that every pay period and it will take a disproportionate amount,” said financial adviser Hank Erwin. “It’s withheld all through this year. You’ll get it back in about April 2020.”

TSA spokeswoman, Lorie Dankers says workers are set to receive the remainder of their back pay later this week.

She added that all TSA officers were paid a $500 bonus in mid-January as well as a partial paycheck. Dankers confirmed the amount of those paychecks fluctuated depending on an employees schedule.

Meanwhile, many of Hawaii’s more than 2,700 federal workers say they’re preparing for the worst, pinching pennies now in the event there’s another shutdown later this month.

Another federal worker food bank is scheduled for Tuesday at the IBEW union on Hau Street. Organizers say you just have to show your government ID in exchange for a food box.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.