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President signs Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, guarantees back pay after furloughs

WASHINGTON, DC—On Jan. 16, the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 was signed into law by President Trump. The act requires retroactive pay and leave accrual for federal employees affected by the furlough as a result of the 2018–19 federal government shutdown, and any future lapses in appropriations that begins on or after Dec. 22, 2018.

This means that in addition to the 2018–19 shutdown, the act ends the uncertainty employees would face about back pay in any future shutdowns. The act requires that furloughed employees receive retroactive wages for the length of a shutdown at the standard rate of pay. It also requires that excepted employees working without pay receive retroactive pay for work performed.

In addition, the act grants excepted employees permission to use their paid leave, and to receive standard compensation for leave taken. It is further specified that this back pay is to be received at the earliest possible date after the end of a shutdown, so that employees would not need to wait until a scheduled pay day. This act is an amendment to the Anti-Deficiency Act, which governs federal procedures during a lapse in annual appropriations.