As the prospect of a partial government shutdown at the end of the month grows increasingly likely, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) wants to make sure that federal workers will still get paid.
Cardin is the sponsor of the Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2015 (S. 2035), a bill which would allow federal employees who are required to work during a shutdown (excepted employees) to take leave while the government remains closed. Also under the bill, furloughed and excepted employees will be paid as soon as possible after the government reopens, regardless of their scheduled pay dates.
Cardin said in a statement, “Our bill is the right thing to do and the fair thing to do. Federal workers are dedicated public servants who simply want to do their jobs on behalf of the American people. They shouldn’t suffer because of extreme partisan gamesmanship.”
Federal employee unions have come out strongly in favor of the proposal.
“Sen. Cardin’s proposal would treat federal employees fairly in the event of a government shutdown. Employees who are furloughed or forced to work without pay during a shutdown shouldn’t be punished because they didn’t create the problem,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “That said, NTEU is working hard to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1 and ensure that agencies get the funding they need to fulfill their critical missions.”
AFGE national president J. David Cox Sr. said, “This legislation would give federal employees peace of mind in knowing that the government will uphold its obligation to pay them in the event of another lockout. The bill would also allow employees with scheduled leave during a shutdown to take that leave.”