Unlike direct government employees, contractors have not received back pay in previous shutdowns; Blumenthal & Murphy want to ensure federal contract workers hurt by the recent government shutdown receive their paychecks

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) called for swift passage of bicameral legislation to provide back pay for contracted federal workers who lost wages during the government shutdown. The bill – the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act – aims to help low-wage federal contractor employees who were furloughed or forced to accept reduced work hours because of the government shutdown.

“We should make sure that the moral stain of this self-inflicted crisis of government does not extend to a failure to compensate federal contractors’ weeks of lost wages,” Blumenthal said. “There should be no question about the federal government’s obligation to do the right thing for workers who perform essential services for the people of the United States. For those workers who were furloughed or on the job during this shutdown, without a paycheck: we stand with you.”

“This bill begins to correct the lasting pain that this unnecessary shutdown has caused families, specifically low-wage contract workers, who were furloughed or laid off. These workers and their families shouldn’t go without a paycheck because of the government’s inability to do their job. I’m proud to support this legislation,” said Murphy.

Earlier today, Blumenthal discussed the bill at a press conference with members of 32BJ SEIU, which represents more than 600 modestly paid janitors and security officers who were furloughed and have not received back wages. Video of the press conference is available here.

The Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act would:

  • Ensure that federal contractors are reimbursed for providing back pay, up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four.
  • Provide accountability in the equitable adjustment process by including ways for protection of taxpayer funds.
    • Contractors would submit evidence of costs for review and approval by the agency’s contracting officer.
    • Contractors are already required to keep records of employee pay practices, so this doesn’t create a new obligation for those contractors.
    • Cover employees employed under the Davis-Bacon Act (which governs federally funded construction projects) and the Service Contract Act (which governs federal service contracts).