A group of senators led by Senator Ben Cardin (MD), has introduced S. 2035, a bill for both excepted and furloughed federal employees in the event of a possible government shutdown. While NTEU continues to urge Congress to provide agencies with Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 funds before the end of FY 2015 on Thursday, October 1st, we have also been working with members of Congress to address pay and leave issues for both excepted and furloughed employees should a shutdown actually occur on October 1st. As in past government shutdowns, some employees will be deemed “excepted” by their agencies and will be required to work without pay until new appropriations legislation is enacted, thereby authorizing payment owed for their unpaid work. The remaining employees will be furloughed with no guarantee of retroactive pay.
The Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2015, S. 2035, authorizes federal employees furloughed due to a government shutdown to be paid once appropriations are in place. Notably, this legislation includes a provision, strongly promoted by NTEU, to require that all employees who face delayed pay be paid as soon as possible, without regard to regularly-scheduled pay date, once the shutdown ends. And, it also specifies that excepted employees are to be allowed to take leave under regular leave rules during the shutdown, with compensation paid once the shutdown ends. A similar bill is expected to be introduced soon in the House.
As we near the end of the fiscal year, NTEU continues to press Congress to avoid a government shutdown. However, in the event of a shutdown, NTEU is working to mitigate the impact on our members, who don’t deserve to yet again face uncertainty at work, and in their wallets. Our elected officials need to act responsibly and allow the American people’s work to carry on. NTEU will keep you posted on any developments.