Process Back Pay for Federal Employees Immediately

Press Release January 25, 2019

Washington D.C. – Federal employees should receive all of their back pay immediately upon the reopening of the federal government, National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon said Friday.

“Get the checks out, now. Federal employees haven’t been paid in more than a month and mortgage and rent are due next week,” Reardon said. “They shouldn’t have to wait a minute longer.”

The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, signed into law Jan. 16, says federal employees affected by the shutdown will receive their back pay at the “earliest date possible” after the government reopens, regardless of the next regular scheduled pay date.

“Some 800,000 middle-class working families around the country are strapped for cash and their suffering should prompt agency payroll providers to move swiftly in cutting the back-pay checks,” Reardon said.

Reardon applauded today’s agreement to reopen all federal agencies through Feb. 15 because it allows employees to replenish their bank accounts, pay off the debt they incurred and most of all, relieve the stress and anxiety of going one month without income.

“We encourage Congress and the administration to use these three weeks to reach a long-term funding deal that provides agencies with adequate, stable funding for the rest of the fiscal year and end the threat of another disastrous shutdown,” Reardon said.

The agreement should also include legislation introduced Friday by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) to give federal employees a 2.6 percent pay increase in 2019.

NTEU is intent on making sure federal employees – who were innocent victims in this political fight – are made whole. This includes back pay, accrued leave and any other benefits that may have been affected by the shutdown.

“Federal employees are eager to get back to work, serving the American people. That is why they became civil servants in the first place, and this shutdown has been a painful lesson in just how important they are to our nation’s security and economy,” Reardon said.

Reardon also commended the men and women of the civil service who were either locked out of their jobs or forced to work for free during the last five weeks, through the holidays and well into the new year.

“I think we can finally put to rest that old myth that federal employees are all highly-paid and inside the Washington Beltway. If nothing else, this shutdown has proven that federal employees are hard-working Americans in every community, many living paycheck to paycheck, trying to provide for their families,” Reardon said. “Their willingness to share their personal financial hardships with the public during this shutdown helped bring it to an end, and I commend them for their bravery and their commitment.”

NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.