This morning, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents called in sick at over two times the rate that they did a year ago, The Hill reported on Monday.
These absences are likely due to the prolonged government shutdown, which has now reached its 24th day. This means that TSA employees have been working without pay for over three weeks.
Funding for the Department of Homeland Security ended on December 22. TSA employees, which are overseen by the department, are considered essential, which means they are required to work without pay.
As a result, TSA employees are calling in sick, or even quitting, at disproportionate numbers. A TSA spokesperson acknowledges that at the airports, “Wait times may be affected depending on the number of call outs.”
Hydrick Thomas, the TSA council president for the American Federation of Government Employees, said "Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck."
Thomson adds that aviation security could be in danger if the government shutdown continues.