Partial Government Shutdown Affects Local Employees

It's day 18 of the partial government shutdown, and some 800,000 government employees are still not getting paychecks.

Posted: Jan 8, 2019 5:27 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - It's day 18 of the partial government shutdown, and some 800,000 government employees are still not getting paychecks. 

Action News Now reporter Laura Eng spoke with a U.S. Forest Service Employee from Chico who told her how the shutdown is affecting him. 

"It's a little stressful trying to figure out doing better budgeting and all that," said Stephen Thomas, an employee of the U.S. Forest Service. 

Thomas has been with the U.S. Forest Service for 20 years and like other years in the government shutdown, he's been put on furlough. 

"As a non-essential employee that means we don't work, we can't check our emails, we can't check our computers phones or anything," Thomas said. "You do not work, you do not get paid." 

This is the first week that Thomas has not received a paycheck. 

"Kids really don't quite get it," he said. "They just know I don't go to work now. But we try to emphasize, if I don't get work, I don't get paid." 

Thomas has a wife and two children. The couple works hard to make ends meet for the family, which has been harder during this partial government shutdown. 

Region 5, which covers most of California, has about 5,000 employees. Thomas estimates that at least half of the employees in the service are furloughed. 

"Some of those are essential," he said. "Plus, we have law enforcement firefighters, those who need to be at work." 

For now, Thomas does not know when he will see his next paycheck. 

"Hoping that one day I'll wake up and say, 'oh, everyone back to work!'" 

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