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January 17, 2019

King supports bill to ensure low-wage contract workers get paid during shutdown

Courtesy / U.S. Naval War College, Flickr
Courtesy / U.S. Naval War College, Flickr
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, joined a group of his colleagues Wednesday to introduce legislation that would secure back pay for federal contract workers who continue to go without pay during the current government shutdown.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, joined a group of his colleagues Wednesday to introduce legislation that would secure back pay for federal contract workers who continue to go without pay during the current government shutdown.

The Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act aims to help low-wage contract workers — including those in janitorial, food, and security services positions — who have been furloughed or forced to accept reduced work hours as a result of the government shutdown.

"Federal contractor employees are not responsible for this shutdown, and they should not be punished for it," King said in a news release. "Congress has rightly passed legislation to ensure federal workers receive back pay, and we should do the same for low- and mid-wage contractors — who work hand-in-hand with federal employees — by passing this bill and further protecting the American people caught up in this reckless and avoidable shutdown. As I've said before: ultimately, the best way to help these men and women is to reopen the government — and we must do so immediately."

Specifically, 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 taxpayer 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).
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