As part of contingency plans to mitigate the impact of Washington's ongoing federal government shutdown on hard-working New Hampshire families, Governor Maggie Hassan and the State Employees' Association (SEA) announced today that they have reached an agreement to prevent layoffs of state employees whose salaries are funded in part or entirely by certain federal programs.
The agreement defines the impact of the federal government shutdown and the lack of timely and sufficient funds to support employees as an "emergency" situation and allows for furloughs in lieu of layoffs as federal funds run out in different program areas. Where possible, state agencies have been using carry-forward funds to stretch available federal dollars, but federal appropriations for some programs may begin to run out by the end of the month.
"Every day that the senseless federal government shutdown continues, the impact gets worse for New Hampshire's families and economy," Governor Hassan said.
"By the end of this month, federal funding for some programs will begin to run out, putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk, and jeopardizing jobs and our economic recovery. While we can't eliminate all of the pain caused by the shutdown, this common-sense agreement will prevent layoffs for our hard-working state employees and help save taxpayer dollars from needless costs. I thank the SEA for their constructive efforts to reach this agreement. Once again, in New Hampshire we've proven that we can come together, address our challenges and solve problems on behalf of our people - Washington needs to do the same and reopen the entire federal government before the situation gets even worse."
SEA President Diana Lacey agreed that cooperation was the best way forward.
"I am so proud that we're moving together to address this crisis in a way that will have the least impact on critical services," Lacey said. "The state employees are committed to the work they do, even if Congress is not. We are putting people first, not politics."
The agreement ensures that employees will lose no additional rights or benefits, such as seniority, as a result of the unpaid furlough. The agreement stipulates that if the Federal Government later authorizes funding for back-pay for furloughed workers, the State and the SEA will assist furloughed employees with reimbursements that may be required for unemployment compensation received. The agreement is in effect until December 31, 2013, unless otherwise mutually agreed to.