NTEU Backs Senate Bill to Protect Federal Employees’ Credit Scores in Shutdown

Press Release November 20, 2019

Washington D.C. – The credit scores of federal employees who lose income during a government shutdown would be protected under legislation introduced by Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union.

The Shutdown Guidance for Financial Institutions Act, similar to legislation introduced by Rep. Jennifer Wexton of Virginia, would require guidance to help prevent adverse financial information on the credit reports of federal employees who go without pay during a shutdown.

“Government shutdowns are not federal employees’ fault, so it stands to reason that their personal creditworthiness not be harmed in the process,” NTEU National President Tony Reardon said. “We applaud Sen. Van Hollen and others for introducing this important legislation and, on the eve of another potential shutdown, we encourage Congress to act quickly to pass it into law.”

During the record 35-day partial shutdown of 2018-19, some 800,000 federal employees missed two paychecks, which led to late mortgage and car payments, higher credit card debt and other financial distress. Some employees were on unpaid furloughs and others were forced to work without pay.

NTEU also endorsed similar legislation from Rep. Maxine Waters of California.

“Of course, an even better solution would be for Congress and the administration to approve funding for all government agencies on time and avoid the shutdown calamity altogether,” Reardon said. “But in the event of a lapse in appropriations, we are pleased to see so many members of Congress willing to take proactive steps to shield federal employees as much as possible.”

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