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Nearly 9,000 state employees will have paychecks frozen by the end of next week

A spokesperson for the Gov. Tom Wolf administration said the affected employees will have to use personal time off if they want to continue to be paid
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2019 file photo Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf listens to a question from a reporter during a news conference in Harrisburg, Pa. The FBI is investigating how Wolf’s administration came to issue permits for construction on a multibillion-dollar pipeline to carry natural gas liquids across Pennsylvania, The Associated Press has learned. (AP Photo/Marc Levy, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Nearly 9,000 state employees learned Friday that their paychecks will be frozen by the the end of next week as Gov. Tom Wolf's administration seeks to reduce spending during the COVID-19 shutdown, a spokesperson for the governor confirmed Friday.

The affected employees have jobs that cannot be done remotely, according to Dan Egan, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Office of Administration. Beginning April 11, the affected workers will have to use vacation, sick leave, or other personal time off if they want to continue being paid. 

Otherwise, the workers can file for unemployment.

"This is an unprecedented situation that has created fiscal challenges for employers including the commonwealth," said Egan in a statement. "State agencies have already stopped hiring for positions not supporting essential operations and are limiting purchases to only critically needed goods and services. It is important to note the essential services the state is providing will continue."

Pennsylvania began closing state offices last month to mitigate against the potential spread of the coronavirus. 

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It is not yet known how long the state will freeze paychecks. Wolf said last month that state offices will be closed through at least the end of April.

The affected workers will continue to receive healthcare benefits, the administration said.

About 5,700 of the affected employees work for PENNDOT, Egan said. The others work for the Dept. of Labor and Industry (908) and the Dept. of Revenue (849). 

Essential jobs in those agencies will not be affected, Egan said.