The federal government accidentally paid 30 employees amid the government shutdown, then told them not to access the funds so it could get the money back, The Washington Post reported.
The Interior Business Center, an Interior Department division that processes federal workers’ paychecks, made a clerical error and paid 30 furloughed employees at the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) and two others at the Interior Department on Friday morning, The Post said.
The CSB investigates chemical accidents and is based in Washington, DC. Almost everyone who works there has been furloughed during the government shutdown, which entered its 22nd day on Saturday and is now the longest-ever on record.
Hours after the remittances were accidentally sent out, CSB bosses sent an urgent email telling employees they were trying to reverse the payment and warning them not to use the money, The Post reported.
“PLEASE DO NOT ACCESS THE FUNDS,” it read, as cited by The Post. “We are working with IBC to determine how to remedy this situation and it is best if you don’t access the funds.”
An unnamed Interior Department official also told The Post: “We’ve called the banks to trace that money and work to pull it back.”
The official also said the employees were accidentally paid because an Interior Business Center employee put in the wrong payroll code for the CSB and Interior Department employees.
Some 800,000 employees have gone without pay as President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats continue to spar over the funding of Trump’s desired border wall between the US and Mexico.
Many employees say they are scrimping, taking out loans, and seeking second jobsto cope with the unsteady situation.