Losing a job and a paycheck for who-knows-how-long is certainly the toughest part about being a state employee-victim of a crisis not of your making. But finding out you're not an essential cog in the wheel of Minnesota can't be a lot of fun, either.
The Department of Human Services this afternoon let their "non-essential" employees know they're non-essential employees by telling them that if they were essential, they'd know by now.
As you know, Governor Dayton filed a petition with the court identifying critical activities that should be continued in the event of a shutdown beginning July 1. All agency operations would be discontinued except for those determined by the court to be critical activities. In the context of a possible shutdown, "critical activities" are generally those that must remain uninterrupted or conditions that would create a potential immediate threat to public health and/or safety.
We view all positions to be vitally important to the work we do and we value the work you do as a DHS employee. However, I can let you know at this time notices have been delivered to staff who are serving in critical positions. If you did not receive a notice and if a shutdown is not averted, you are not to report to work or perform any agency work on or after July 1, 2011 for the duration of the shutdown, unless you are otherwise notified that you are to return to work.
We will provide more information as it becomes available. Please keep informed through your local news resources and visit Be Ready MN (https://www.bereadymn.com/) daily for updates. Answers to questions will be posted as they become available. In addition the Employee Emergency Information Line (651-431-3023; Relay Service 1-800-627-3529) will be updated regularly.
We truly appreciate your patience and cooperation during this difficult time and look forward to this situation being resolved soon.
A lot of workers deemed "non-critical" are indeed essential! Staff that work at WorkForce Centers or State Services for the Blind certainly do essential work. They just don't do work that would pose an immediate threat to human life if temporarily halted. I cringe each time I see people deem every laid off employee as "non-essential" and therefore easily disposable.
If essential means you protect life and safety, then let's be honest: 95% of us in the private sector are non-essential too. There's no shame in being non-essential; too bad there's no paycheck in it either, at least for public workers.
No big deal when I got my "you're not essential" email since I very much am not essential to day to day operations, but I know there are a lot of State staff who won't find out until tomorrow if they are critical. People who could be deemed either way. I really applaud DHS for getting information out early. I can't imagine going into tomorrow not knowing if my position was critical or not.