Legislation signed to provide back pay to furloughed federal workers

federal government sign Capitol building
Jewel Samad photo.

The House and Senate has passed and the President has signed legislation ensuring that furloughed federal workers or those working without pay during the partial government shutdown will receive pay.

The White House announced Wednesday that the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 “requires the compensation of government employees for wages lost, work performed, or leave used during a lapse in appropriations that begins on or after December 22, 2018, and entitles excepted employees to use leave during a lapse in appropriations.”

Employees, who began last week or this week receiving pay stubs showing zero dollars paid, will still not be reimbursed until the shutdown is over. This provides some light at the end of the tunnel, but until then many who live paycheck to paycheck will still have serious financial difficulties in the meantime.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

10 thoughts on “Legislation signed to provide back pay to furloughed federal workers”

  1. I was told from someone within my agency that this only applies to PFT employees. A Career Seasonal on a 13/13 or 18/8 schedule will not get back pay, even if you should have been working during this time period. I have not found any documentation to substantiate this, but I haven’t spent too much time looking for it.

    So maybe a heads up if you are not a PFT.

  2. Just to note that these folks voted AGAINST the back pay bill. There’s a pattern here if you look close enough.

    Justin Amash (R-MI)
    Andy Biggs (R-AZ)
    Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
    Glen Grothman (R-WI)
    Thomas Massie (R-KY)
    Chip Roy (R-TX)
    Ted Yoho (R-FL)

    1. Oh I think the locals should write to these people. I believe all of the Politicians should forgo their pay for the time this whole Government shutdown lasts. Term limits, not being able to vote for their own pay raise, and no health benefits after leaving office too!

  3. Government shutdown, 2019 fire season and readiness. Sounds like the “perfect storm” coming if this doesn’t get resolved soon. Just saying. Jeff.

  4. At the risk of sounding ungrateful or paranoid, how easy would it be to undo this legislation? I ask because we are witnessing an unprecedented level of pettiness in D.C. right now, on both sides of the aisle. And we have witnessed the President change course 180 degrees on decisions practically overnight recently. Suppose the shutdown continues for a while longer, and the pundits that seem to hold sway announce they no longer support back pay for furloughed workers, or only a fraction of full back pay due to the length of the shutdown etc. Can the President undo this legislation himself, or does it need full Congressional approval? Thanks for any info on this.

  5. Chip Roy (R) Texas District 21. A Gerrymandered District, includes counties west of Austin, and down to mid-San Antonio’s northside. Voted that Federal Employees should not be paid when shutdown ends. His dad was a federal employee for 25 years (??)
    Roy issued a statement on Friday explaining his vote (made as much sense as a Capitalist Communist):

    “There is zero question that we should pay federal workers. I do not, however, support putting federal spending on autopilot indefinitely or authorizing future pay irrespective of the circumstances,” he said. “I would gladly have voted to pay federal employees at the end of the current lapse, but we should do so methodically and always ensure we are managing the budget wisely.”

    Does not make a lick of sense, as I thought this was to “pay employees at the end of the current lapse”.

    Partial list of agencies in his district affected (does not include residents who may work for an agency outside his District, but live in his District):

    NPS (Johnson City Nat’l Historic Park, maybe San Antonio National Historic Parks, too)
    FDA Food Inspectors (some in Johnson City)
    TSA (San Antonio Airport)
    FAA (San Antonio Airport, including Air Traffic Controllers)
    Fish and Wildlife Service (San Marcos Aquatics/Fish Hatchery, Wildlife Inspectors at San Antonio Airport, San Antonio FWS LE office)
    USGS (San Antonio Office)
    National Weather Service (New Braunsfels Office covers Austin and San Antonio)
    USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (the old Soil Conservation Service)

    He won the election by less than 10,000 votes in November with only about 350,000 votes cast.

  6. Back pay for what? Nobodys working. Why should anyone get paid for not working? Yes Congress should have their pay pulled til this is resolved. If a person doesnt work in the private sector they dont get back pay for doing nothing. How does being a fed employee entitle anyone to pay without work?

  7. I don’t know, ask Mitch McConnell.

    Seriously though, the federal employees signed up for a full-time job, often at “below maket rate” salaries. Why? It was a guaranteed full-time job, with medical and retirement benefits. That was agreed to by the tterms of the job announcement.

    And now they are told to “wait at home until we call, and then come in the next day, don’t go out of town”, or “Come in today and work without pay until you an’t stand it, or we say the game is over”. And technically, they are supposed to “ask permission” to take another paying job!

    What private sector job says “come in and work without pay”, and don’t work 2 jobs without permission?

    And plenty of folks get paid for not working. How many firefighters show up and never get to “work”? Ask airport fire departments and many municipal fire departments!

    Do they “work” every day? They get paid for it. Do they train, maintain equipment, develop response protocol, train others, etc etc? Yes. Is that work? Yes. Do they sleep on the job and get paid for it? Sure. By your logic, why?

    Do many people with full time jobs work from home? Sure. Do they work all that time? Really? Do they get paid?

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