Dear Chairwoman Lowey and Ranking Member Granger:
As the Committee on Appropriations begins to consider government funding legislation, we urge you to include a provision to provide back pay to federal contractor employees for the wages lost as a result of the recent 35- day partial government shutdown. While Congress and the Administration came to an agreement to reopen the government last month, we must act to ensure that these federal contractor employees are made whole.
Employees of federal contractors and their families should not be penalized for a government shutdown that they did nothing to cause. As a result of the nearly five week shutdown, federal contractor employees lost more than a month's pay and missed several paychecks. While federal employees received back pay at the end of the shutdown, federal contractors did not.
Federal contractor employees perform jobs that are critical to the operations of our government, such as food service, security, and custodial work. These are often low-wage jobs where the result of even one missed paycheck is can lead to financial distress. The shutdown has left contractors, who often work shoulder-to-shoulder with federal employees, struggling or unable to pay their mortgage, rent, or other household bills. Some have even had to turn to foodbanks to meet their household needs.
There are bipartisan bills in both the Senate and House of Representatives that would provide back pay to compensate federal contractor employees for their lost wages. As supporters of these efforts, we strongly urge you to include back pay for federal contractor employees in any supplemental appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY)2019 or as part of the regular appropriations process for FY2020.