The last paycheck for the foreseeable future for tens of thousands of state government employees is out, and it wasn't even a whole paycheck.
Some 44,000 employees received a 20 percent paycheck Friday. They won't get another one until a state budget is passed. The budget impasse is going into the fourth week, stripping state government of the ability to pay bills and meet payroll.
A Treasury spokeswoman says some employees may have received nothing at all, depending on the size of their benefits deduction.
Meanwhile, the state Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for Sept. 16 in a court case dealing with whether state employees must be paid on time even when no budget is in place.
In addition, the federal Department of Labor is investigating whether the state has violated workers' rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act. If you call the Department of Labor's Wage-Hour Hotline, you'll get the following message, according to political blogger John Micek:
"If you are a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania employee, please know that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has initiated an investigation of the Commonwealth to ensure that your rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act are protected. There is no need for you to file an individual complaint. All affected employees will be covered by our investigation into this matter."
On Monday, a special Senate-House conference committee will be appointed to tackle the budget impasse. The state has a three billion dollar budget gap and lawmakers can't agree on how to close that gap.