Furloughed federal workers can collect unemployment

Furloughed federal workers can collect unemployment

Should federal employees on furlough be allowed to collect unemployment benefits? Workers at a Navy engineering station in Philadelphia think so.

The local union affiliate of International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers has signed an agreement with the Navy which would allow their civilian federal workers to group furlough days in one-week blocks. It’s a strategy with one key goal: enable those employees to recoup some of their lost wages through unemployment checks.

Here’s how it works.

Bill Coleman, a mechanical engineer who works for the Navy, makes around $104,000 a year, before taxes. Like most Department of Defense employees, he expects to be furloughed for 11 days between July and September. He will lose roughly $4,400 in pay during that stretch.

If his furlough days are scattered throughout the three month period, he will not qualify for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania. Workers in that state cannot earn more than $745 in one week and still qualify for unemployment benefits.

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