House Votes Bill that Gives Federal Contractors Backpay During Shutdown

A measure that provides back pay to low-wage federal contractors that were barred working during the December government shutdown was passed by the House on Tuesday.

Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) said: “I’m thrilled the House has passed legislation that would finally provide federal contract workers the back pay. Our government relies on these hardworking men and women to keep our government buildings running, and we have a moral obligation to make them whole for the pay they lost during the government shut down.”

According to The Hill, while federal employees have always been compensated for unpaid work or furloughed time that results from a shutdown, contractors have previously not been included. Contractors have increasingly filled the government’s need for security guards, food workers, and cleaners, and many people in those positions simply lost shifts for the 5-week span of the shutdown.

Hector Figueroa, the president of 32BJ SEIU which represents 600 of the furloughed contractors, issued a statement in which he said:

“Contracted janitors and security officers, as well as their families will continue to relive the trauma on a daily basis until they are compensated for 35 days of income. Their shaky finances are already at a breaking point and cannot withstand yet another shutdown looming around the corner.’’

Both the House and Senate are cautious to provide the payment for the contractors because many of them are companies that make big profits and it is hard to make sure that the workers receive their fair share of the money. 

House passed the bill and the people still wait for the Senate version of it.

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