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The Illinois Department of Central Management Services has released a list of questions and answers that State Government Employees may have about working during a government shutdown.

We understand state employees have questions on how their benefits will be impacted as the state budget is no longer in place beginning July 1. The following Q&As were designed to help answer any questions you may have.

Employee Benefits

Q.  Will an employee's health, dental or life insurance be affected?
A.  No. Group insurance coverage during a budget situation will not be impacted. If paychecks are delayed, and as long as the employee continues to work and earn a paycheck, insurance premiums will be taken accordingly. The missed payroll deductions will be taken once paychecks are issued.

Q.  What will happen to an employee's contributions to any flexible spending accounts (i.e., MCAP, DCAP) during the budget situation?
A.  Employees enrolled in MCAP will not be impacted. ConnectYourCare debit cards will continue to work. If the employee continues to work and earn a paycheck, deductions should be taken accordingly. If MCAP deductions are missed, they must be made up when the budget situation is resolved.

Employees enrolled in DCAP may be impacted as reimbursements are limited to the available account balance contained in their DCAP account. If the employee continues to work and earn a paycheck, and once all payroll deductions are deposited into the DCAP account, reimbursements can be made for eligible expenses up to the available account balance.

Q.  What will happen to an employee's Commuter Savings Program benefit?
A.  Employees enrolled in the Commuter Savings Program will continue to receive the benefit under this program. Employees will owe any underpaid amount upon their return to payroll.

Workers' Compensation Program

Q.  Will an employee's Workers' Compensation benefits be affected?
A.  No. In the event of a budget situation, Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Permanent Total Disability (PTD) and survivor death benefit payments under the Workers' Compensation Act will continue through July. Work-related injuries should continue to be reported through the procedures in place today.

Deferred Compensation Program

Q. What will happen to an employee's Deferred Compensation contributions during the budget situation?
A.  As long as the employee continues to work and earn a paycheck, payroll deductions for Deferred Compensation should be taken accordingly. Deferred Compensation contributions can only be made through payroll deduction. The employee cannot deposit money directly to his or her fund to catch-up the contributions.

Q.  If an individual is currently receiving a distribution from their Deferred Compensation account, will that distribution continue during the budget situation?
A.  Yes. Current distributions and changes to distribution amounts will continue to be processed. To make any changes in distribution, call T. Rowe Price at 1-888-457-5770.

Q.  Will hardship distributions/loans from an employee's Deferred Compensation account be available during the budget situation?
A.  A loan provision is available at any time and allows a participant to have one outstanding loan and borrow a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum of $50,000 or 50% of their account balance over a five year period. The interest you pay goes back to your account along with the principal amount each month as you repay the loan through Automatic Clearing House (ACH) deductions from your bank. Employees would likely not qualify for a hardship distribution as they will be made whole of any missed payrolls when the budget situation ends.

Q.  How do I borrow from my Deferred Compensation account?
A.  To apply for a loan from your account over the phone, call T. Rowe Price at 1-888-457-5770 to speak to a Representative. There is a $75 processing fee and you will need to supply bank routing and account information for your checking/savings account numbers to set up the automatic ACH deduction. Participants are allowed one outstanding loan at a time. You may repay the full loan balance amount at any time through the same phone number at T. Rowe Price.

State Employee Compensation

Q. What options exist if certain parties take action to temporarily block pay for state employees?
A. State employees will be paid for their work. If certain parties take action to temporarily block pay for state employees, there may be an opportunity for employees to get bridge loans from local financial institutions. Credit Union 1, for example, has already agreed to offer no-interest loans for qualifying members of the credit union should salary payments for state employees be delayed. To be eligible to receive 0% interest loans from Credit Union 1, participants must have been members on or before May 1, 2015. Employees who have become members of Credit Union 1 since May 1, 2015, can apply for a loan, subject to normal criteria, rates and terms.

With no budget in sight, Rep. Mitchell introducing legislation to ensure state & university employees are paid

Decatur, IL – With the State of Illinois set to begin Fiscal Year 2016 without a budget in place, State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is introducing legislation to ensure thousands of state and university employees will still receive paychecks.

As a result of Governor Rauner’s veto last week of the Democrats’ $4 billion unbalanced budget, there is no budget resolution in sight, with both sides deadlocked over spending and taxes. Without a budget in place by July 15, the State will be unable to make payroll for employees in numerous agencies.

However, under a 2014 law passed by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly, lawmakers, legislative staff and judges will still receive their paychecks, with or without a new budget in place. Senate Bill 274 (P.A. 98-682) included a “continuing appropriation” for the salaries and operational expenses of legislators and judges.

“I think a lot of folks will be shocked to find out that legislators will still get their paychecks in the absence of a new state budget,” Mitchell said. “That was one of the items slipped into last year’s budget implementation law by the Democrat majority. If lawmakers are getting paid, our state and university employees should also get their paychecks. Thousands of working families have to pay their bills whether the State has a budget or not.”

Representative Mitchell’s legislation (HB 4235) would include state employees and public university employees in the continuing appropriation law so that those employees would continue to receive paychecks in the event a new state budget is not in place by July 15.

“This is a matter of fairness for our state employees and their families,” Mitchell added. “Due to federal mandates, welfare checks will still go out with or without a budget agreement. Again, if lawmakers are getting paid and welfare checks are going out, our hardworking state employees should not have their livelihoods put in jeopardy. They should continue to do their jobs providing services to the taxpayers and they should continue to be paid.”

Placing telemarketing calls to wireless phones is - and always has been - illegal in most cases.

Why the confusion about telemarketing to wireless phones?

Consumers report receiving emails saying they'll soon begin receive telemarketing calls on their wireless phones. The confusion seems to stem from discussions in the wireless phone industry about establishing a wireless 411 phone directory, much like your traditional (wired) 411 phone directory. A number of email campaigns seem to suggest that if your wireless telephone number is listed in a wireless 411 directory, it will be available to telemarketers, and you will start to receive sales calls. In addition, some of these email campaigns suggest that there is a separate do-not-call "cell phone registry," which you must call to have your wireless phone number covered by the do-not-call rules. This information is inaccurate.

The facts

Even if a wireless 411 directory is established, most telemarketing calls to wireless phones would still be...

Read more here.

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) released the following statement and video regarding the divisive political actions taken by House Democrats Thursday on proposed right to work legislation:

“The working men and women of Illinois deserve better than this charade. They deserve leaders who will stand up for middle-class families, not use them as pawns in a political power struggle.

“Today’s vote is more political theatre from the same Chicago politicians who have bankrupted our state and hurt middle-class families. They aren’t standing up for working families. The Democrats are playing games with their livelihoods. This so-called right to work bill is nothing more than a cynical attempt to hold onto power at all costs.

“Let me make my position perfectly clear: I opposed right to work under former Governor Quinn. I oppose right to work under Governor Rauner. I will not vote for it.

“I come from Decatur, Illinois – a manufacturing town with hardworking, middle-class families.

My hometown has struggled tremendously due to the loss of good-paying jobs. Our unemployment rate has been consistently higher than the state and national averages.  "Twenty plus years ago, Decatur was torn apart by labor wars that pitted neighbor against neighbor. It was terrible. It divided families and cost many hardworking people their jobs. I do not want to see a return to those difficult times.

“This so-called right to work bill is wrong for our working families. It’s not what Illinois needs to turn our economy around. Even the Illinois Chamber of Commerce said that ‘Illinois doesn’t need right to work (laws) to compete with its neighbors.’

“Today’s vote is a farce. It’s not about protecting working families. It’s all about dividing people. I oppose right to work, but I will not participate in this charade. It’s not fair to middle-class families who deserve better than this shameful display of power.”