In an attempt to ease financial woes for Transportation and Security Administration workers punching the clock without pay amid the government shutdown, the agency is offering employees one day’s worth of pay and a $500 bonus.
The money should appear in the agents’ bank accounts within a matter of days, TSA Administrator David Pekoske announced Friday.
In a statement on Twitter, he praised airport screening officers for having “rallied and never once compromised the security of our nation’s transportation systems” in spite of tough times.
To give them a hand, Pekoske said earnings had been processed for Dec. 22, the day after the start of what has become the longest shutdown in U.S. history.
That pay should be received by Tuesday, with the $500 bonus to be received “in the next few days,” he said.
Continuing to offer his support, Pekoske acknowledged that although the pay wasn’t all that the workers are owed, he hopes “these actions alleviate some of the financial hardship many of you are facing.”
Roughly 800,000 federal employees are either furloughed or working without pay. Since TSA services are considered essential, more than 50,000 TSA agents are among those forced to remain on the job.
However, a significant number have been calling out sick. According to a CBS News report, on Saturday, sick calls were up by 70 percent from the same day in 2018.
Last week the TSA union sounded the alarm on staff reductions, noting that some employees are starting to quit and warning it could present “a massive security risk” for travelers.
Despite the sick calls and departures, screening times have remained somewhat consistent across the country, CBS reported.