Congressional committees have a funding gauntlet to run between now and the end of fiscal 2019. If they don’t make it through, the government shuts down, Federal employees and contractors could go unpaid for weeks. While workers on the federal payroll receive back-pay currently, there’s no law for contractors. Eric Crusius, partner at Holland & Knight, says that there’s a plan to change that.
“It is ruminating through Congress right now. It’s still not anywhere yet. They are trying to get momentum behind it. When the last shutdown happened, thank goodness the employees got back pay and back wages. Even though it was delayed in a lot of instances. Contractor employees never got that. A lot of them burned through vacation, had to take [leave without pay.] Some contractors were able to pay their employees through the shutdown, but lost a lot of money and had to borrow heavily. That’s adversely affected them,” Crusius said. “This bill is proposing to do a few things. One: provide pay for the contracting employees if there’s another shutdown. Another one is there’s a lot of complicating factors where contractors options expired while the shutdown was happening. Even if they were allowed to continue to work, maybe that contracting officer wasn’t there. To allow the contract to keep rolling until the shutdown ends would be a really good thing for just efficiency in government’s sake.”