Financial lifeline for furloughed workers

A press conference last week focused on legislation to provide financial relief for thousands of Minnesotans forced to live without paychecks due to the government shutdown. The introduced legislation would provide short term, no-interest loans for affected workers.

Under the terms of the bill, banks and other financial institutions can apply to the commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to issue the zero-interest loans, and Minnesota would guarantee the loans. The loans would be worth up to $5,000 and the program would cease to issue loans the day after the federal shutdown ends.

Though the shutdown ended with a temporary deal, the federal government needs to reach a deal in three weeks or risk another shutdown. The legislation is continuing to move forward in the legislature to be ready in case it is needed in the future. More than 6,000 federal employees were furloughed or required to work without pay because of the shutdown, with another 3,000 Minnesota state workers’ jobs funded through federal contracts impacted by the shutdown. (SF 588)