Recently introduced legislation would provide back pay to federal contractors for the recent partial government shutdown.
The Fairness for Federal Contractors Act (H.R. 824) was introduced by Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ). It would give back pay to contractors who were furloughed or laid off, not working, experienced a reduction of hours, or experienced a reduction in compensation as a result of the lapse in appropriations.
The bill would also restore paid leave taken by contractor employees if the contractor required employees to use paid leave as a result of the lapse in appropriations.
There would be a cap on the amount of money that could be given out in back pay, however. The cap is the lesser of $1,400 per week or the employee’s actual weekly compensation.
The legislation is vague as to where the money would come from to cover the cost of providing back pay. Regarding this, it states, “There is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2019, such sums as may be necessary for each Federal agency subject to the lapse in appropriations that began on or about December 22, 2018, for adjustments in the price of contracts of such agency…”
“Federal workers and their families endured incredible hardship during this government shutdown at no fault of their own – and it’s clear they should not have to lose their paychecks,” said Norcross. “During my career as an electrician, we often worked hand-in-glove with government entities and I know that Congress must do the right thing and provide lost wages to contractors. It’s our moral obligation to these American families to pass the Fairness for Federal Contractors Act, which will also help prevent a dip in our economy and protect our future federal workforce. Contractors and employees work side-by-side and their pain is just as real.”
Other Back Pay Legislation for Contractors
Similar legislation was previously introduced in the House, however, it stipulated that only “low-wage” federal contractors would be given back pay if it were to be enacted. Some FedSmith readers asked why all federal contractors were not included in this other bill; apparently there were some lawmakers who thought the same thing.
Back Pay for Federal Employees
Federal employees will be receiving back pay for the latest as well as all future shutdowns because of a new law recently enacted. Many of them received their back pay by the end of January according to OPM.
Another bill was recently introduced that would give back pay to federal employees plus interest for the shutdown. Should it pass, it would pay interest at the Treasury’s Prompt Payment rate.