Federal employees who worked 2013 shutdown inch closer to pay

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers who were deemed "essential" during the 16-day government shutdown in 2013 will receive notices in January about their right to join a lawsuit that could result in financial compensation.

Eligible employees will receive notices via email and other methods early next year, according to a press release on Friday. 

In August, a U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge found that the federal government violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying workers on time due to the shutdown.

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Last month, the judge decided that all affected workers should be notified of their right to join the lawsuit. 

The judge has not yet decided whether the affected employees are entitled to “statutory liquidated damages.” 

If that is approved, workers won’t be able to receive compensation unless they join the lawsuit handled by Washington-based law firm Mehri & Skalet.

The workers who initiated the lawsuit say the government didn’t adequately pay about 1.3 million "essential" employees who were required to work during the shutdown. Their two-week pay period overlapped with the first five days of the shutdown. 

The workers were eventually paid for those days once the shutdown ended and Congress approved retroactive pay for workers.

This comes as talk swirls among Republicans of another government shutdown over President Obama’s immigration order. 

Top Republican leaders in Congress have repeatedly declared they would not succumb to another shutdown.