House Passes Norton Bill That Provides Back Pay to Federal Contract Workers

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A bill that Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) led with Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) to provide back pay to low-wage federal contract workers furloughed during the last government shutdown passed the House of Representatives Tuesday.

“Although federal employees received back pay after President Trump’s 35-day shutdown, federal contract workers, who do the same federal work, were left out altogether,” Norton said.  “Contract workers have become second-class federal workers, doing the same jobs as civil servants but without the pay and security of federal employees.  The Trump shutdown exposed their vulnerability, which had been under the radar until the shutdown.  I am particularly thankful to House Democratic appropriators, who included this provision in the full bill.”

Norton also joined a group of House Democrats in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget citing OMB authority to negotiate with contractors to provide back pay.  The letter said: “Government contracts typically have provisions to modify the terms of the contract, and federal contracting officers should use these provisions to work with contractors to provide back pay for contract workers who lost wages as a result of the shutdown.”

Norton previously introduced a bill to grant back pay to federally contracted retail, food, custodial, and security service workers who were furloughed during the shutdown, just as furloughed federal employees received back pay.