Legislation Introduced to Provide Back Pay to Federal Employees Furloughed by a Shutdown

Legislation has been introduced to guarantee back pay to federal employees who get furloughed during a partial government shutdown.

As Congress races towards yet another shutdown deadline at the end of the week, federal employees who would be furloughed are likely wondering if they would get paid for lost time.

Usually, they do. This happened in the 2013 shutdown and most likely would happen again, but it is ultimately up to Congress.

However, some lawmakers want to make sure federal employees are paid and have proactively introduced a bill that would guarantee back pay to furloughed federal workers in the event that Congress cannot come together to stop a partial government shutdown at week’s end.

The Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act (H.R. 4827) was introduced by Congressmen Don Beyer (D-VA) and Rob Wittman (R-VA) and had 40 co-sponsors when introduced. Both Congressmen represent districts home to many federal employees, nearly 120,000 between the two of them.

Beyer introduced the same bill last month when the last potential shutdown was looming.

“We are working hard to avoid a government shutdown, but if it comes our bill would protect federal workers from the worst of the consequences,” said Beyer. “This legislation is designed to shield civil servants, who need to support their families, from the disastrous effects of Congress’ failure to agree on a budget measure. We hope it will not be needed, but time is running out.”

Wittman added, “Federal employees should not be penalized for Congress’ inability to get its job done on time. This legislation sends a clear signal to our federal workers that they will not be harmed in the unfortunate event of a shutdown. While this legislation would minimize the impacts of funding uncertainty, my focus remains on returning Congress to a regular schedule of budgeting and passing appropriations bills.”

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.