The National Treasury Employees Union supports legislation introduced this week that would ensure federal employees are paid during a government shutdown. Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.), joined by 16 other senators, introduced the Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2017 (S. 861) in the event that Congress is unable to reach an agreement before the current government funding measure expires on April 28.
“We are hopeful that Congress can avoid a disruption in government services,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “But just in case, it is good to know that Sen. Cardin and his colleagues are looking out for the federal employees who would otherwise be forced to pay for the political impasse.”
“Our bill is the right thing to do and the fair thing to do,” Cardin said. “Federal workers are dedicated public servants who simply want to do their jobs on behalf of the American people. They shouldn’t suffer because of extreme partisan gamesmanship.”
The legislation would ensure that federal workers who are furloughed or forced to work without pay during the shutdown are compensated fully and quickly when the government re-opens, regardless of the next regularly scheduled pay date. Federal employees are hard-working middle-class Americans with bills to pay and inflicting a financial hardship on them as part of larger political dispute is unfair, Reardon said.
“The 16-day shutdown in 2013 was a stressful time for federal employees and a frustrating inconvenience for taxpayers,” Reardon said. “NTEU will continue to support efforts to reach a spending agreement that provides federal agencies with reliable and adequate funding for the rest of this fiscal year so that federal employees can continue to serve taxpayers without interruption.”
The legislation would also allow those who are required to work during a shutdown to take scheduled annual leave and sick leave while the government remains closed.