Now it can be told: AFSCME’s role in getting back pay for furloughed Employment Security and other employees



lr-101413dState employees in Employment Security, the Military Department and elsewhere who were furloughed during the recent federal shutdown are getting back pay thanks to AFSCME’s leading role in Washington, D.C.

“AFSCME worked diligently to insure that public employees funded by federal dollars not lose any paychecks due to the irresponsible brinksmanship,” Federation Executive Director Greg Devereux said.

AFSCME’s role wasn’t well known in the hectic days after the shutdown ended Oct. 16.

Here’s a full account of AFSCME’s role from AFSCME in D.C.:

“AFSCME played an instrumental role in lobbying for and securing congressional passage of important federal legislation that extended back pay to federally funded state and local workers who were furloughed during the shutdown of the federal government. Building on the support and a strong likelihood that back pay for federal workers would be included in any final agreement AFSCME was able to win passage of the provision for federal funded state and local workers. Although federal workers had been compensated in the past for other government shutdowns there had not been any precedent for extending back pay to state and local workers.

“On October 17, 2013, the president signed into law Public Law No: 113-46a making continuing appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2014. The result was an end to the 16-day federal government shutdown, by providing appropriations until January 15, 2014 at final FY 2013 levels. Also added to the legislation was a provision reimbursing states for costs incurred for operating federal programs during the shutdown, including reimbursement for furloughed employees (Sec. 116).

“Under this provision, states (or other federal grantees, which is defined as including local governments and non-profit organizations) will be reimbursed for expenses that would have been paid by the federal government for federal programs that the state (or other grantees) had been carrying out prior to the shutdown. In addition, furloughed state employees who are funded in part or whole by the federal government must be compensated at their standard rate during such period (furloughed federal government and District of Columbia employees are also compensated). For reimbursement, states may use funds available to them under the specific programs, combined with any interested accrued under 31 USC 6503(d). These provisions would also cover future funding lapses in FY 2014 should they occur, although states would not get reimbursed until appropriations are in place.  The adoption of this provision was a tremendous victory for state and local workers thanks in large part to the work of AFSCME.”

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