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Furloughed Federal Workers In Oregon Have To Repay Unemployment

Federal workers in Oregon who were furloughed during the partial government shutdown won't get extra pay for that time off after all.

Oregon's Employment Department Friday announced it will seek repayments from federal workers who collected unemployment while on furlough. This reverses an earlier policy to declare those checks eligible to keep even though all federal workers ended up getting back pay for the shutdown.

Oregon agency spokesman Tom Fuller says the U.S. Department of Labor asked for the reversal.

"The furloughed federal workers who received back pay are now considered to have been employed during the time of the shutdown," he says. "Any benefits they got will need to be repaid and we'll be communicating that to them."

Fuller says the number of affected workers is "fluid" right now. It's somewhere between 700 and 1,900.

Friday's announcement brings Oregon's policy in line with neighboring states. Earlier this week, Idaho's Department of Labor sent letters to just shy of 500 federal workers seeking payback. In the state of Washington, nearly a thousand furloughed workers have to refund overpayments.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.