Washington D.C. – NTEU National President Tony Reardon has asked the administration to mitigate the harmful effects of the shutdown on employees by speeding up delivery of back pay, providing documents to negotiate with creditors and preserving the leave they have rightfully earned.
On Wednesday, the fifth day of the partial government shutdown, Reardon asked leaders of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management to take actions that have been used in previous shutdowns to help federal employees who are losing income.
“There is no greater fear than the unknown and with comments from senior government officials and leaders indicating that the shutdown may continue for some time, many federal employees are gravely concerned about their finances now that they are either furloughed with no pay or on the job unable to rely on their next scheduled paycheck,” Reardon wrote.
Reardon asked OPM and OMB to direct payroll providers to provide delayed funds immediately after the lapse in appropriations is resolved. It makes no sense for federal employees who worked during the shutdown to see their back pay delayed even longer, until the next regular paycheck.
During previous shutdowns in 1995-96 and 2013, government agencies provided their employees with letters they can give to financial institutions and creditors officially confirming the shutdown and its impact on their pay. Reardon asked OPM and OMB to order agencies to do that again, as soon as possible.
Finally, Reardon asked the administration to formally instruct agency heads to uniformly restore any “use or lose” leave so that employees can carry it into the next calendar year. Some employees who were planning to use such leave at the end of the year before it expired have been forced to cancel it and report to work, and they should not be penalized.
Reardon’s letter was addressed to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and OPM Acting Director Margaret Weichert.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.