A bill was introduced this week that would guarantee pay for non-essential federal employees in the event there is a government shutdown. Funding for the government is set to expire at midnight on Friday, December 22 if Congress cannot agree on a budget before then.
During a partial government shutdown, the Office of Personnel Management states that employees who are “non-exempt” (A.K.A. non-essential) will be furloughed. It is then up to Congress as to determine whether or not these employees receive back pay for the time they were furloughed.
The Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Act (H.R. 4694) is a preemptive move on the part of Congress to ensure the pay for these federal workers that would be affected since a shutdown is looking like at least a possibility. It was introduced by Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) and has 26 co-sponsors as of the time of this writing.
“We absolutely do not want to see a shutdown of the federal government, but if it comes we must act to protect federal workers from the consequences,” said Beyer. “If the government shuts down due to Congress’ failure to pass a budget, the effects on civil servants, who need to support their families, would be disastrous without this bill. We cannot allow that to happen.”