Bill Introduced in Senate to Provide Retroactive Pay for Shutdown Furloughs

By on October 2, 2013 in News, Pay & Benefits

Following on the heels of similar legislation introduced in the House, the Senate has now introduced a bill that would provide retroactive pay to federal employees who are furloughed by the shutdown.

Known as the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act (S. 1567), the legislation is being introduced by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Tim Kaine (D-VA).

Cardin said, “Hardworking federal employees did not cause our fiscal crises nor did they contribute to the legislative gridlock, but once again they are being asked to pay the heaviest price toward a resolution. It is our responsibility to assure these public servants, mostly middle class and struggling to get by like so many other Americans, will be made whole again when it finally ends. It is the right thing to do.”

Warner added, “This irresponsible shutdown adds insult to injury for many of our federal workers, many of whom have already had to endure furloughs from the sequester. There are more than 150,000 civilian federal employees in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and financial well-being has become collateral damage simply because a handful of extreme politicians in the House refusal to compromise.”

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the web site and its sibling sites.

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  1. Stewie Griffith says:

    This is a plan for fiscal responsibility. I would have added that a budget has to be done before the yearly deadline or all are ineligible for re-election as well.

    Warren Buffett: “‘I could end the deficit in 5 minutes.
    You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3%
    of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.'”

  2. Alizabeth says:

    To those who are claiming furloughed individuals are on a ‘vacation’ – I want you to look at your finances, your bills, etc. Now, you aren’t coming in to work tomorrow. Or the next day. or the next, or the next. You’re not fired, but you can’t come to work. You can’t earn a living. Hope you have enough in savings. You can’t file for unemployment and if you do, you’ll probably have to pay it back, but hope you don’t need that money right now, because the non-essential employees that help process those are gone and they have 10 people to field claims for an entire state. When we decide, you can come back to work, but I’m going to need you to do all the work you missed the past however many weeks you were gone.
    Stop thinking about you, and put yourself in someone elses shoes.
    These people keep America running and want to earn an honest wage while doing their patriotic duty.
    We don’t want a hand out.
    We don’t want a ‘free vacation’
    We want to work.

  3. Healthcare Mom says:

    I don’t have a problem with paying those who have been furloughed. But if they are going to get paid, they should be back on the job. Otherwise, they are getting paid to stay home. I cannot refuse to come to work paid or not.

    • Alizabeth says:

      You misunderstand – we will be paid retroactively, not every other week per usual. This means bills, gas, food, child care, and several other expenses must be paid out of pocket. Requiring many of these people to come back without pay is impossible – as we barely have enough in savings to make ends meet, let alone find money to put in our gas tank, pay someone to watch our children, and other daily expenses. We are not being paid to be at home, but rather we are being paid to make ends meet since it is our hard work that keeps this country running.

  4. Mike says:

    My job is funded by a Working Capital Fund. We have been working, but that funding will run out some time this week. Wondering why during this furlough, we are allowed to work, but in the summer furloughs, when the WCF still had plenty of money in it, we were furloughed. I filed an appeal to the MSPB on the summer furloughs to this effect and have not heard a single thing back. I’m not allowed to be in the union, so I guess I just have to accept the fact that I’m a 2nd class citizen. I’m an engineer so I could get a private sector job somewhere. Maybe that is their plan to cut down numbers…do this stupid crap to get as many people to leave government service before the RIFs start.

  5. ZUBBEE says:

    What about the EXCEPTED employees who are being penalized by involuntary servitude? Will we get overtime pay?

  6. BS Flag says:

    What BS this is…Those of us that got furloughed due to sequestration, whcih by the way was nto fault of ours, since lawmakers threw that out there, will see NONE of our 6 days of no pay back…. B**L SH*t I say!

  7. Renato Lutz says:

    I’m an Aviation Safety Inspector. In the past we were deemed essential. I guess aviation safety is no longer deemed essential. I offered to take leave during this time. The rest is out of my hands

  8. bob says:

    As in the past with Government shut downs, the ‘essential’ people have to continue working, and they will get their usual pay. Meanwhile the non-essential employees have free time off on their furloughed days,- a so called vacation – as evidently they will get their pay eventually with no charge to AL or SL. This has been the case in the past, and has always been unfair to the “essential’ employees who have to work!-they do not get ‘free time off’.

    • Kimikazi says:

      Essential workers do not get their usual pay, no one is paid until the shutdown is over. I am essential, and will be paid when the people who have been told not to come to work are paid. I agree it’s not Fair. There should be some compensation for not calling out or merely staying home and getting paid.

      • kevmeist says:

        But,then you KNOW you will get paid (we DON’T) even though bills are in process. SO, if this bill passes…make the “non-excepted” workers go back to work. Most will be happy to do that.

        • Kimikazi says:

          We are classified as Furloughed even though we are working. I don’t believe anyone is sure they will be paid.

          • kevmeist says:

            As far as I am aware, it has already been stated that “exempt” employees WILL get paid. Just get paid when all the BS is over.

    • Albert says:

      Tehn as for Annual Leave and stop whinning

      • LeftyH says:

        You idiot, we can’t take any kind of leave during this furlough time, I HAVE TO BE HERE or I am AWOL, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

        • Fred says:

          All the non-essential furloughed people are currently AWOL. We are not there, and not in a leave status: AWOL.

    • Albert says:

      Then ask for Annual Leave and stop whining.

    • kevmeist says:

      In my case (I was “essential” the last time this was being considered)…this time I am “non-excepted” (the PC police changed the name)…I am told “go home” and then IF we need you, we can call you back in temporarily (I suppose until I fix whatever the problem is/was). Doesn’t make you feel any better than those “excepted” staff that MUST work. I would rather be there working.

    • czarney says:

      I was essential back in 96. A petition went around, and all the essential employees in my building got 59 minutes for every hour worked.

  9. A Disgusted Retiree & Taxpayer says:

    As a former fed, this makes about as much sense as a deck chair on a submarine. I am sympathetic to my former colleagues, especially those at the lower grade levels. This happened when Clinton and Gingrich were abusing each other, and people were paid retroactively. This is what makes the taxpayers so angry towards decent hard working civil servants, who have about as much control over their situation as the voters do in deciding term limits. Federal employees should receive unemployment like anyone in the private sector. The loss of productivity and important decisions affecting so many, e.g., those awaiting FDA approval for cancer drug trials and more, is a disgrace at the hands of an elitist Congress who is out of touch with the nation. Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, “So much damage caused by so few to those many.”
    The idiots who should not be paid are the very ones writing this Greek tragedy. They should all be wearing NASCAR driving suits wearing the name tags of those who own them.