Washington, D.C. – Federal employees should not be forced to lose pay during a potential holiday-season government shutdown, National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) President Tony Reardon said.
In the event Congress cannot provide funding to keep the federal government running past Dec. 8, lawmakers should at least approve legislation to make sure federal employees receive their paychecks.
“Taxpayers are the biggest victims of a government shutdown because they stop getting the services that they rely upon, but federal employees are a close second,” Reardon said. “Imagine being told that you can’t go to work and can’t get paid because of someone else’s failure to govern. Federal employees – and taxpayers – deserve better.”
With the threat of a shutdown looming, Reardon reiterated his call to pass the Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2017 (S. 861), which would make sure 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.
“Our country’s civil servants are middle-class taxpayers who have bills to pay just like everyone else and it would be especially cruel for them to enter what is for many a holiday season without income,” Reardon said. “Obviously we at NTEU would prefer to see Congress avoid a shutdown altogether by approving a spending plan that gives federal agencies an adequate level of funding for the remainder of the year and allows federal employees to serve the public without interruption.”
The Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act is sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.).
Previous shutdowns have proven to be disruptive and frustrating to all Americans and damaging to the nation’s economy. A December shutdown would have the added impact of forcing those federal employees who are excepted from the shutdown to cancel their leave and report to work, ruining family vacations and holiday celebrations.
Cardin’s 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.
“We thank Sen. Cardin for his leadership on this issue and hope that federal employees and all taxpayers will not have to endure the hardships of a shutdown,” Reardon said.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 31 federal agencies and departments.