Union Expects Worker Absences to Increase as Shutdown Continues

The National Treasury Employees Union stated on Tuesday that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) worker absences are expected to increase as the government shutdown continues.

According to The Washington Post, hundreds of IRS employees will likely skip work as part of a coordinated protest as the shutdown continues into its fourth week, National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon and other union officials have said.

“They are definitely angry that they’re not getting paid, and maybe some of them are angry enough to express their anger this way,” Reardon told the Post. “But these employees live paycheck to paycheck, and they can’t scrape up the dollars to get to work or pay for child care.”

Last week the White House ordered tens of thousands of IRS workers to return to work.

Labor groups say that some IRS employees are taking advantage of a provision that allows them to skip work if they suffer “hardship,” according to the Post.

“I have fielded no less than 30 to 40 calls, emails or text messages about hardship requests from employees daily since Thursday,” Shannon Ellis, president of the NTEU’s Chapter 66 in Kansas, told the newspaper.

IRS offices across the country are reportedly experiencing an increasing spike in absences as part of the protest.

The IRS is headed into its busiest time of the year, raising the possibility that millions of Americans will receive their tax refunds later than usual.

The partial shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, 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.

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