Flickr user Yellowstone National Park

Contractor Back Pay Bill Advances, Administration Seeks Dismissal of Shutdown Compensation Lawsuit and More

A weekly roundup of pay and benefits news.

Some federal contractors who missed work because of the 35-day partial government shutdown earlier this year soon could see compensation for the time they were forced to stay home.

The House on Wednesday was set to begin consideration of its second minibus spending package, which includes appropriations for the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Defense and State departments. That bill (H.R. 3055) also includes a provision that would provide back pay to low-wage government contractors who were furloughed or laid off as a result of the lapse in appropriations that began last December.

During the shutdown, contractors who worked at unfunded agencies’ facilities, such as security personnel and custodians, were furloughed or laid off. Unlike federal employees, they did not receive back pay when the government reopened.

The provision of the spending package would provide back pay to those employees, and order the restoration of paid leave if a contractor required employees to use leave during the shutdown. The bill caps compensation on a weekly basis at what an employee’s pay would have been or $965, whichever is lower.

The White House has signaled that it would veto the House minibus legislation, citing a variety of policy disputes and areas where it is inconsistent with President Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal. The Office of Management and Budget stated that the administration also opposes the contractor back pay provision, arguing that implementation would be a logistical nightmare.

“While contractors play an important role in helping government agencies meet their missions, this legislation ignores important principles of federal contracting, and would lead to increased cost and a significant increase in the risk of fraud, waste and improper payment,” OMB wrote. “The administration anticipates significant, disruptive and costly challenges in trying to force-fit the requirements of contractor back-pay legislation into an acquisition system that is not designed or equipped to manage contractor employees.”

Last month, attorneys with the Justice Department filed a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed by federal employees seeking damages related to delayed paychecks as a result of the shutdown. In January, more than a dozen feds and labor groups filed lawsuits accusing the government of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires employers to pay employees promptly for the work that they perform.

In the motion filed May 3, the Justice Department argued that the government “fully complied” with its payment obligations, noting that federal agencies are bound by the Anti-Deficiency Act not to pay workers during a lapse in appropriations.

“[Plaintiffs] do not dispute that federal officials were statutorily barred from compensating them for that work while the lapse in appropriations persisted,” attorneys wrote. “Plaintiffs also do not dispute that, once appropriations were restored pursuant to ‘the enactment of [a spending bill] ending the lapse,’ the government fully compensated plaintiffs ‘at the earliest date possible.’ ”

Despite the motion to dismiss the lawsuits, which were consolidated in February, the plaintiffs are expected to succeed in their challenge. In 2017, a judge awarded financial damages to employees forced to work during the 2013 government shutdown amounting to the federal minimum wage—$7.25 per hour—times the number of hours they worked between Oct. 1 and Oct. 5, 2013, the period during which paychecks were delayed.

(Image via Flickr user Yellowstone National Park)

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.