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Old 01-15-2019, 06:39 AM
Falchion is offline
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,018
Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
What I mean is: are government workers (that are not furloughed) still earning income and just not receiving their paycheck currently and, when they do, they will get all of their back pay? OR are they not earning any money and any back pay they do get is at the discretion of Congress when the shutdown stops?

If the latter and they do not get their full backpay how is that legal? If they are required to work and end up not getting paid for those hours, isn't that slavery?
My understanding (and apparently contrary to most of the answers here, so I'd be interested to see where I'm wrong) is that it's the former. As OPM explained in 2015, "Agencies will incur obligations to pay for services performed by excepted employees during a lapse in appropriations, and those employees will be paid after Congress passes and the President signs a new appropriation or continuing resolution." I'm not sure the legal basis for this (other than the general requirement that the agency fulfill its financial obligations), but if you figure that that furlough is the result of the Anti-Deficiency Act's bar on authorizing an obligation in excess of funding, it makes sense that agencies incur an obligation for "excepted" employees.

Of course, the agency incurs no obligation to those "non-excepted" employees who are furloughed (i.e., not working and not getting paid), but they have historically always received back pay. They are the primary target of the legislation discussed below about back pay, although the text of the bill includes excepted workers. The bill would serve (as I understand it) to permanently guarantee backpay for both excepted and non-excepted workers (by amending the Anti-Deficiency Act) in this and any future shutdown.

(The final category is employees who are "exempt" from the shutdown for a variety of reasons. They are both working and getting paid).

Last edited by Falchion; 01-15-2019 at 06:40 AM.