Hirono Introduces Legislation to Ensure Pay for Federal Contract Workers Hurt by Shutdown

January 27, 2019, 10:45 AM HST · Updated January 27, 10:45 AM
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Sens. Mazie Hirono, Tina Smith, and 21 of their colleagues introduced legislation to secure back pay for the federal contractor employees who were impacted by the government shutdown.

The bill, called the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act, would provide back pay of up to $600 per paycheck for federal contractor employees who were furloughed or had reduced work hours due to the government shutdown. The bill aims to help low-wage federal contractor employees, including janitorial, food, and security services workers.

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“Federal contract workers perform important services across Hawaiʻi and don’t deserve to suffer financially because of Donald Trump’s government shutdown,” Sen. Hirono said. “While the President has signed a bill passed by Congress to repay federal workers who have been furloughed or required to work without pay during the shutdown, federal contract workers have been assured of no such protections. This bill aims to make things right with federal contract workers who often work long hours at low wages.”

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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.
  • Cover employees employed under the Davis-Bacon Act (which governs federally-funded construction projects) and the Service Contract Act (which governs federal service contracts).
  • Provide accountability in the equitable adjustment process by including ways to protect taxpayer funds.
  • Allow contractors to 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 the act would not create a new obligation for those contractors.

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