Stress for government contractor left without job due to shutdown

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Ten days into the government shutdown and it appears likely that furloughed workers from Kansas City's largest employer -- the federal government -- will be paid retroactively once the shutdown is resolved.

But government contractors may be a different story.

FOX 4 spoke with a government contractor on Thursday, who, along with everyone he works with, has now been officially laid off by their company.

"In an effort to minimize impact and insure that you have access to unemployment, you are being laid off due to a lack of work effective today," Andrew McCullough read from a letter he received.

McCullough's job was labeled "non-essential" and he was put on unpaid furlough indefinitely.

"I'm really stressed out," he said. "I'm worried about myself, obviously, and my employees."

McCullough didn't want to name his employers or the agency he contracts with, but he said the past 10 days have been rough.

"So sick that I can't even eat, you know? I just keep thinking about it," he said.

One week in, McCullough already started to worry about his credit cards bills and car loan, and then Wednesday he received a letter from his employer.

"This means your employment will be formally terminated and all used leave or PTO owed to you will be cashed out and provided to you in a final paycheck," he read from the letter.

McCullough was laid off -- first unofficially by the shutdown and now officially by his contracting company.

McCullough said he was told it was just strategic, to help unemployment claims go through and allow access to his 401K.

But it also means his health and dental benefits expire at the end of the month as the company is no longer paying in.

"Just hold out for a day or two, well it could be a week or two, it could be a month or two," he said.

While it appears government will receive back-pay, McCullough assumes most government contractors like himself will not. He also said he was told by his boss that he will be rehired once the shutdown is over, but he said as each day passes, it gets more difficult to stay positive.

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