Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards directed the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) to immediately extend eligibility for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to more than 1,500 federal excepted employees – those required to work during the federal government shutdown but whose pay is being withheld.

Gov. Edwards’ announcement mandates the inclusion of a specific group of employees previously disqualified by law to receive unemployment benefits. Impacted federal employees may begin the UI application process immediately for the current eligibility period that begins today, Jan. 25, 2019. Louisiana joins Colorado, California, Vermont, and the District of Columbia in paying benefits to all furloughed government workers. 

“Today marks the second pay period that approximately 6,000 federal workers in Louisiana have gone without a paycheck, and many of these dedicated employees have continued to report to work,” said Edwards. “These individuals deserve every bit of our support during this difficult time. The U.S. Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents, and countless others are among those workers affected by the 35-day long government shutdown. Remember, it was the Coast Guard that rescued 33,500 people after Hurricane Katrina, and the Port of New Orleans recently announced that it moved more containers in 2018 than at any time in its history. Those facts, coupled with the millions of visitors preparing to descend upon Louisiana for Mardi Gras season, make these workers crucial to our state’s safety and welfare. Providing them with unemployment benefits is just the right thing to do.”

Furloughed federal employees are encouraged to check the LWC website,, for further instructions. The site will be updated regularly as additional information becomes available.

“Today is a historic day for Louisiana,” said LWC Sec. Ava Dejoie. “Our governor has actively chosen to prioritize the quality of Louisiana residents’ lives above all else. It is important to note there is one very critical caveat for workers affected by the furlough. The Government Employment Fair Treatment Act of 2019 stipulates that all federal employees affected by the government shutdown will receive back pay. Therefore, any unemployment benefits received by federal workers likely will need to be repaid. For many of these employees, UI benefits will serve as somewhat of a stopgap until the federal shutdown ends. Until then, we will continue to serve these individuals as we would any other qualifying workers.”

Important Facts:

  • Louisiana joins Colorado, California, Vermont, and the District of Columbia in paying benefits to all furloughed government workers. 
  • As of January 24, 2019:
    • 427 furloughed individuals have applied for Unemployment Insurance Compensation
    • 113 of the 427 have received their first weekly benefit payment
    • Louisiana’s maximum weekly benefit is $247.00.
    • The maximum eligibility period in Louisiana is 26 weeks, for a total maximum benefit of $6,422
    • All UI benefits must be reimbursed to the LA Workforce Commission upon payment of back wages. 

About the Louisiana Workforce Commission

The Louisiana Workforce Commission is an agency of state government that administers programs designed to enhance workforce growth and provide family-sustaining jobs for Louisiana residents. The commission monitors employment, administers unemployment compensation and tax funds, provides training resources for employers and employees and oversees worker compensation benefits. The agency also gathers and supplies information on the labor market and occupational sectors in Louisiana.