But Essential federal employees, like TSA workers, who are continuing to work do not qualify for unemployment despite not being paid during the shutdown. The NTEU lawsuit focuses on the 800,000 workers who have continued to operate during the impasse.
Applications for unemployment last week rose in states with a large number of federal contractors.
The governors called on the US Labor Department to immediately provide "clear, unambiguous" guidance on whether states have the flexibility to waive the rules to help those working without pay _ Transportation Security Administration officers, air traffic controllers, Coast Guard members and others.
"We will continue our fight to rectify what we think is an erroneous decision", O'Duden adds.
The partial shutdown has affected nine federal agencies, as well as several smaller offices, leading to hundreds of thousands of federal employees being furloughed or required to work without pay. Judge Leon ordered the federal government to file briefs on the question by January 22, while NTEU's are due on January 28. They were not part of the request to file a temporary restraining order and a lawyer on the case said he does not anticipate a hearing on their complaint prior to March.
With his ruling, Leon maintained the status quo. The lawsuits also allege a violation of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery and a violation of Fifth Amendment protections from arbitrary government interference in obtaining meaningful employment.
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Leon also dismissed a request that'd allow federal employees to stay home rather than labor away uncompensated.
Pelosi said she planned to do just that but was thwarted after "the administration leaked that we were traveling commercially".
There are two elements to an unemployment claim, Cohn explained: Showing that you're out of work, and showing that you're not getting paid.
"When it gets to a point where government employees have to go to a food bank, this is not the America that I grew up in", he said.
"After clarification from the Department of Labor this week, we now have a clear path to pay unemployment benefits to furloughed workers", DES spokesman Larry Parker told The News & Observer in an email on Friday.
Meanwhile, President Trump says the Democratic Party has been "hijacked" by those opposed to his plan for a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border as he seeks to turn up pressure on his political rivals over an ongoing partial government shutdown.
But that move has failed to tamp down concern, especially since 2019 will be the first tax filing season to include a full year of the 2017 GOP tax law, which is expected to result in new challenges for filers, accountants and tax preparers.