WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today introduced legislation to secure back pay for the federal contractor employees who continue to go without pay during the current government shutdown. Brown joined Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) in introducing the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act, which aims to help low-wage federal contractor employees—including janitorial, food, and security services workers—who have been furloughed or forced to accept reduced work hours as a result of the government shutdown.
“Every day President Trump refuses to open the government, he is taking money out of the pockets of hardworking people. The President needs to do his job and stop hurting the people who make this country work,” said Brown.
The Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act, would:
- Ensure federal contractors get reimbursed for providing back pay, up to 200% of the federal poverty level for a family of four.
- Provide accountability in the equitable adjustment process by including ways for protection of taxpayers 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).
Brown has been fighting to secure back pay for government contract employees who have gone without pay during the government shutdown. Many of these federal contractors make too little to begin with and are paid hourly. Because they are unable to clock hours, these workers often do not receive back pay and are typically unable to recoup lost hours and wages during a shutdown.
Last week, Brown wrote to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), urging the Administration to direct federal agencies to work with contractors to provide back pay to compensate low- and middle-income contractor employees for the wages they have lost during the shutdown. Brown met with TSA and food service workers who are being hurt by the shutdown last week, and has shared the stories of hardworking Americans who are suffering as a result of President Trump’s temper tantrum.
Brown has called on President Trump repeatedly to reopen the government. Brown also took to the Senate floor to call on President Trump to end the government shutdown that is hurting American workers.
Before the holidays, the Senate unanimously passed a clean funding measure, which Brown supported. The White House indicated it would support that short-term spending measure to fund the government before President Trump abruptly changed course and shut down the government. The House passed a similar measure to fund the government and reopen the government with bipartisan support.