Lawmakers Push for Immediate Back Pay for Feds if Government Shuts Down

Lawmakers Push for Immediate Back Pay for Feds if Government Shuts Down

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., introduced a measure to guarantee back pay.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., introduced a measure to guarantee back pay. Andrew Harnik/AP

In the 2013 shutdown, which lasted 16 days, back pay for furloughed feds was not guaranteed until lawmakers struck the final deal to fund agencies and reopen government. Even then, most furloughed federal workers only received their retroactive pay on their next scheduled paycheck. While the government reopened on Oct. 17, they did not collect their wages until Oct. 25.

Lawmakers are starting to prepare for a government shutdown, and they want to make sure federal employees are taken care of if the ensuing furloughs come to pass.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., on Wednesday introduced the 2015 Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act, which would guarantee that employees forced to not work and forgo pay eventually receive their normal salaries. While federal statute forbids federal employees from receiving pay during an appropriations lapse, Cardin’s bill would ensure furloughed feds are paid retroactively as soon as possible after the government reopens.

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