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Beyer Wants to Guarantee Back Pay for Feds in a Government Shutdown

Federal employees should be guaranteed back pay in the event of a government shutdown, says Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).

Beyer and a fellow Virginia congressman, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), have proposed the “Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act.”

The bill “would guarantee back pay for all furloughed workers if Congress and the White House are unable to come to a funding agreement.” Currently, back pay must be approved by Congress and is not guaranteed.

“Shutting down the federal government threatens the livelihood of federal workers who carry out the nation’s vital missions,” Beyer said in a statement. “It’s inexcusable to play politics with their pay and the well-being of their households.”

While a government shutdown at the end of the week is possible, it’s looking increasingly likely that a deal will be reached to continue funding the government.

Twenty-two percent of employment in Arlington is classified as government employment.

The full press release about the bill, after the jump.

With time running out to keep the federal government open when funding expires, Virginia Congressmen Don Beyer (D-VA) and Rob Wittman (R-VA) have drafted legislation to protect federal employees’ pay in the event of a government shutdown.  The Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act would guarantee back pay for all furloughed workers if Congress and the White House are unable to come to a funding agreement.

“Shutting down the federal government threatens the livelihood of federal workers who carry out the nation’s vital missions,” said Rep. Beyer. “It’s inexcusable to play politics with their pay and the well-being of their households.”

A shutdown would temporarily suspend paychecks for federal employees, and retroactive pay for federal workers must be approved by Congress. The Beyer-Wittman legislation would guarantee that no federal employees lose pay if a government shutdown occurs.

“Federal employees should not suffer because Congress refuses to end its govern by crisis mentality,” Rep. Wittman said. “Preparing the retroactive pay legislation sends a signal to our federal workers that they won’t be forgotten in the unfortunate event of a shutdown. While this legislation minimizes the impacts of funding uncertainty, my focus remains on returning Congress to a regular schedule of budgeting and passing appropriations bills.”

Together the two Virginia Congressmen represent nearly 120,000 federal employees.

“AFGE would like to thank Congressman Beyer (D-VA) and Congressman Wittman (R-VA) for introducing the ‘Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act,'” said American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox. “Federal employees are hardworking public servants who are dedicated to providing quality public services.  Federal employees and their families should not be forced to go without pay when they are not allowed to do their jobs because Congress cannot pass a funding measure. Too many Americans–veterans, seniors, and other hardworking people rely on services provided by the federal government.  In a government shutdown, it is the American people who pay the price.”

Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday, April 28.

“Federal workers should not be punished if a shutdown occurs so it is good to know that Rep. Beyer and Rep. Wittman are working to make sure they are protected,” said Tony Reardon, National President of the National Treasury Employees Union. “Federal employees are middle-class taxpayers who shouldn’t be forced to go without pay just because of a political stalemate in Washington. This bill would make sure our nation’s civil servants are fully paid as soon as possible after the government reopens, which reduces the chances they’ll have to miss a house payment or run up credit card debt just to make ends meet.”

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