By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff
As we go to press, the government shutdown continues. Here is how it is affecting payroll.
Internal Revenue Service. The IRS will be recalling a significant portion of its workforce, currently furloughed as part of the government shutdown, to work. Additional details for the IRS filing season will be included in an updated FY2019 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan to be released publicly in the coming days. (IRS News Release IR-2019-01, January 7, 2019; https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-confirms-tax-filing-season-to-begin-january-28.)
U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S. Department of Labor offices are all open in the U.S. Employers and workers can call the National Contact Center phone numbers for assistance:
- Contact Center Number (General DOL Inquiries); 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365); Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
- Employment and Training Administration (ETA); 1-877-US-2JOBS (1-877-872-5627); Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST.
- Wage and Hour Division (WHD); 1-866-4-US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243); Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST .
- Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA); (1-866-444-3272); Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST. (https://www.dol.gov/; https://www.dol.gov/general/contact-phone-call-center)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. E-Verify and E-Verify services are currently unavailable due to a lapse in government appropriations. Employers will not be able to access their E-Verify accounts to:
- Enroll in E-Verify;
- Create an E-Verify case;
- View or take action on any case;
- Add, delete or edit any user account;
- Reset passwords;
- Edit company information;
- Terminate accounts; and
- Run reports.
However, to minimize the burden on both employers and employees, the following policies have been implemented:
- The “three-day rule” for creating E-Verify cases is suspended for cases affected by the unavailability of E-Verify.
- The time period during which employees may resolve TNCs will be extended. The number of days E-Verify is not available will not count toward the days the employee has to begin the process of resolving their TNCs.
- We will provide additional guidance regarding “three-day rule” and time period to resolve TNCs deadlines once operations resume
- Employers may not take adverse action against an employee because the E-Verify case is in an interim case status, including while the employee’s case is in an extended interim case status due to the unavailability of E-Verify.
- Federal contractors with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause should contact their contracting officer to inquire about extending federal contractor deadlines. (https://www.uscis.gov/.)
Social Security Administration. SSA offices are open and online functions are available. (https://www.ssa.gov/.)
Health and Human Services. Since most of HHS’s Operating Divisions were funded through FY 2019 by the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriation (which represents approximately 60% of HHS staff overall), the contingency staffing plans details posted on online represent only the Operating Divisions and programs funded through the Agriculture and Interior appropriations. HHS’s contingency plans for agency operations in the absence of appropriations for Agriculture and Interior would lead to retaining approximately 24,927 staff and furloughing 7,997 staff as of day two of a near-term funding hiatus. Put another way, more than 76% of HHS employees would be retained and 24% would be furloughed. (https://www.hhs.gov/about/budget/fy-2019-hhs-contingency-staffing-plan/index.html.).
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