Efforts Underway to Guarantee Back Pay for Federal Employees in the Event of a Shutdown

Three Congressman are introducing legislation that would ensure that federal workers will be guaranteed backpay in the event of a government shutdown.

With the possibility of a partial government shutdown looming at the end of the week, three Virginia lawmakers want to ensure that federal workers will still get paid.

Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA) and Rob Wittman (R-VA) are introducing legislation that would guarantee back pay for federal employees should there be a shutdown.

According to shutdown furlough guidance from the Office of Personnel Management, “Congress will determine whether furloughed employees receive pay for the furlough period.” As such, these lawmakers are already working to make that determination by introducing the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act.

Similar actions have been taken by Members of Congress when past shutdowns threatened. This past September, for example, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced legislation to guarantee back pay for the federal workforce. Don Beyer (R-VA) was also behind a House version of the legislation at that time.

Speaking on the legislation, Congressman Wittman said:

There has to be consistency and certainty in government funding for our federal employees to effectively carry out the important work that they do every day to make the U.S. a better, safer place. This culture of stagnation that plagues the budget process in Washington and makes the well-being of federal employees contingent on unrelated policy measures has to end. I’ve said before, and I will say again that this recurring cycle of governing by crisis has to give way to long-term vision and resolve.

Congressman Beyer’s 8th District and Congressman Wittman’s 1st District are home to approximately 120,000 federal employees combined.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.