This bill, the Low-Wage Federal Contractor Employee Back Pay Act of 2019, would guarantee back pay to low-wage federal contract workers, including federally contracted retail, food, custodial, and security service workers.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
Committee on Oversight and ReformIntroducedJanuary 8th, 2019
- house Committees
What is House Bill H.R. 339?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 339
In-Depth: Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to guarantee back pay to low-wage federally contracted retail, food, custodial and security service workers not getting paid during the federal government shutdown:
“Low-wage federal contract workers can least afford to be penalized by President Trump’s shutdown. Unlike federal employees, who have always been made whole after a shutdown, many low-wage workers, who are the focus of our bill, earn little more than the minimum wage and receive few, if any, benefits. And, unlike many other contractors, those who employ low-wage service workers have little latitude to help make up for lost wages. We must act to ensure that low-wage, federally contracted service workers are not put at a unique disadvantage by the Trump shutdown.”
This bill has 42 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats. In the previous Congress, it didn’t have any cosponsors. After the 2013 shutdown, Rep. Norton introduced similar legislation that never received a vote.
Legislation similar to this was introduced in the last Congress. That bill, the Shutdown Prioritization Act, sponsored by Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), would’ve prohibited the Capitol from operating the Congressional gym and dining room during the shutdown and guaranteed back pay to the federal contractors working in those places. It died in the 115th Congress.
Of Note: Vox reports that while federal government employees who aren’t currently receiving paychecks will likely see back pay once the current funding impasse is resolved, federal contractors don’t have the same luxury:
“Hundreds of contractors in federal buildings including janitors, security guards, and cafeteria servers are not only experiencing a sharp break in their work schedules, they also won’t be compensated for this pause, according to 32BJ SEIU, a labor union that represents many building service workers caught up in this shutdown. Additionally, thousands of contractors in roles ranging from IT to project management to research are potentially caught in a similar bind.”
The federal government uses contractors to fulfill many commonplace and essential jobs at agencies, such as providing security, food service, and janitorial work.
Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / sureeporn)