Yes, working for the Census Bureau is a federal job, but it does not violate the dual employment statute (5 USC 5533) that prevents federal employees from working for 2 federal agencies. As such, someone who holds a job with the U.S. government can also become a census collector every 10 years during the United States Census. Federal employees may work for the census to earn extra money and be a part of history.
Do I Need a Security Clearance to Work the Census?
To work the census, you will need to pass a background check – and possibly a background investigation. Nevertheless, background checks and background investigations do not rise to the level of a security clearance, so you do not need a security clearance to work the census.
What Are the Benefits of Working for the Census?
Census takers are temporary employees, so they do not have access to the benefits and perks offered to full-time employees. Working for the census, however, will not affect your eligibility for public assistance benefits. Being a census collector is a good way to make extra money, and your hours are flexible. After working for the census, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance, as well.
Many employees start working for the census on a temporary basis and apply for full-time positions afterward. The Census Bureau is the world’s premier statistical agency and provides equal opportunities for employment.
Can I Work the Census if I am Not a U.S. Citizen?
In recent census counts, census takers could be legal permanent residents or non-citizens with work visas and bilingual skills. Unfortunately, in 2020, the Trump Administration limited eligibility for non-citizen census takers.
Outlets like The Washington Post have expressed concerns about this decision making the count less accurate. Ultimately, your ability to work the census if you are not a U.S. citizen will depend on the current political situation – and whether or not the Office of Personnel Management is granted a waiver for hiring non-citizens.
Is Working for the Census Safe?
Working as a census taker usually entails going door-to-door in your community. According to the Census Bureau:
“Interviewers and census takers are trained and equipped to safely conduct in-person interviews.”
Still, some census workers encounter hostility, and employees occasionally get into car accidents. One census taker was infamously mauled by dogs, and another had a stroke on the job. In 2020, census workers had to worry about exposure to COVID-19, as well.
Despite all this, working for the census is generally safe. Additionally, census workers are covered by workers’ compensation, so if they get sick or injured on the job, the government will pay their medical bills and missed wages.
Most people have a positive experience working for the census. Census takers often work in their own neighborhoods, so they get to explore their surroundings and connect with people in their communities. Further, the census only occurs every 10 years, so census workers get to be part of U.S. history.
What If Something Goes Wrong
Federal employers are held to high standards because they represent the federal government. If you are harassed, discriminated against, or otherwise wronged while working for a federal employer, lawyers like the ones at The Federal Employees Law Firm of The Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC in Washington, D.C. are here to help.
We have 30 years of experience helping federal employees defend their rights – at all levels of the government.If you need help, please call us at (202) 350-3881 or contact us online.