For Immediate Release
January 25, 2019
HARRISBURG - As the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history continues into its fifth week, businesses throughout the Commonwealth are rising to the challenge and offering various programs to help federal employees who are negatively impacted by the inability to work and receive their paycheck. A wide range of industry sectors – including energy and utility companies; financial institutions and food banks – have announced various promotions or programs they are offering to assist federal employees until the shutdown is resolved.
“During this unprecedented time in our country, businesses across Pennsylvania have stepped up to the plate to help those impacted by the federal government shutdown,” said PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr. “This is just another example of how the private sector can be counted on to go above and beyond to assist in emergency situations. Capitalism isn’t just about the bottom line. It’s about giving the private sector the flexibility and freedom to develop innovative responses to meet the needs of their customers. We’re proud of the work our member companies are doing to help federal employees withstand this time.”
Some of the PA Chamber member organizations who have come to the aid of federal workers are community service providers. Both the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Banks have instituted food distribution programs to assist the impacted employees.
“The federal shutdown is becoming a crisis for many employees and their families,” said Central PA Food Bank Executive Director Joe Arthur. “We began our Federal Shutdown Food Assistance on January 15 and served over 400 families in the first week, and we expect greater levels of need as we move forward. We are prepared to make sure nobody impacted goes hungry while federal employees and contractors are not paid, but we hope this shutdown resolves quickly as community impacts may escalate rapidly if it drags on.”
As the shutdown has continued and federal employees have stopped receiving paychecks, financial institutions have also worked with their customers to provide a number of options to help them weather this time of uncertainty. Examples of the programs available include: interest free and no-fee loans; potential fee refunds and waivers; deferred payments and payment plan options.
Additionally, Wells Fargo made a $250,000 donation to the United Way’s United for U.S. Coalition to help residents in local communities impacted by the shutdown.
Likewise, a number of utility companies from across the state have implemented various programs – including, in some cases, holding late payment charges and setting up budgets or payment plans for customers.
Below is a list of some of the PA Chamber companies that we are aware are offering some type of assistance program to federal employees:
Institutions of higher education are also offering assistance. Shippensburg University is deferring tuition payments for students who can provide proof that they are either a federal worker/contractor or the dependent of workers affected by the shutdown. This is in addition to other programs the university has in place for students who are facing food insecurity or emergency financial problems.
More information on the programs offered by the organizations listed above can be found by contacting the individual companies.
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.