GREENVILLE, IL – As the partial government shutdown drags on, hundreds of thousands of federal workers face the prospect of missing a second paycheck by the end of this week.
We sat down with one impacted family from Highland, Illinois.
They are the Davis family, 38-year-old Josh, his 33-year-old wife Emily and their four kids ages 14,10, 8 and 6 years old.
38-year-old Josh Davis is a corrections officer at the federal prison in Greenville.
Josh usually brings home the main paycheck for his family.
But as a federal worker, he is looking at missing a second paycheck this Saturday.
The extended shutdown is starting to take a significant toll on Josh, Emily, and their children.
“Very stressful, scary, scared for my family, scared for where my career is going to take me when this thing is going to be over with,” said Josh.
As a corrections officer at the Greenville federal prison, Josh is what`s called an essential worker, meaning he is supposed to go in for work even though he isn`t getting paid.
Josh says he`s trying to do that but he is taking some days off to do odd jobs in construction to make ends meet.
He explained, “The people at work are depending on me to go to work, they want me to go to work, I know I can only deal with so much, I know I have to take care of my family first before I take care of my work family.”
Emily works as a teacher`s aide and gets paid for every day she works.
However, every day is challenging especially since one of their kids has a broken ankle and another has a surgery scheduled for this Friday.
“It`s day to day. It`s writing out lists of what`s essential and what`s not essential, what can we do without, what can we not do without,” said Emily.
She added, “Most days I try to hide it from the kids but I`ve had times when I`ve broken down and have cried.”
Emily`s co-workers have collected money for her and other members of the Davis family have helped them out as well.
So far bill collectors have also worked with them and their landlord has accepted partial rent payments.
Josh has also started an online petition drive pushing for legislation passed that would ensure federal workers get paid during any future shutdowns.
Josh has a message for the Washington politicians.
“Come to a decision somewhere, in the end, you gotta let us up for air at some point. We can`t go without a paycheck.”
Although federal workers like Davis are expected to receive back pay when the shutdown ends, the uncertainty of when that might happen worries Davis and his family.
However, the president of the union that Davis belongs to, Brian Mueller, tells us that there is a chance that essential workers like Davis won`t get all of their back pay if they take days off now and then don`t have vacation or sick days to cover that time.
Mueller says that is still an open question.