Senate memo outlines pay policy for staffers during a shutdown

Senate and House offices are each making determinations as to which members of their staffs will be essential and which will be furloughed in the case of a federal shutdown. 

Staffers were notified today that they would only receive eight — rather than 15 — days of pay in their next paycheck, due out April 20, with all deductions pro-rated for the same time frame, Doby wrote. 

That check will be the last for staffers until spending authority is renewed, the note said.

On Thursday night, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) introduced a bill to ensure all federal employees receive retroactive pay for the duration of a federal government shutdown, regardless of individual furlough status. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) is the Republican co-sponsor.

Federal employee pay is suspended in the event of a funding lapse or government shutdown. Retroactive payment for “non-essential” and “essential” employees must be approved through the legislative process by Congress, Moran said. 

The Senate letter also stated that health insurance and Thrift Savings Plan loan deductions would be discounted for the entire month if pay is sufficient, whereas student loan reimbursements won't be made. 

Any other designated deductions that exceed pay won't be made, while those that fall within the pay check's amount will be covered. 

Earlier on Friday, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the nation's largest federal employee union, sued the Obama administration, seeking the repayment of wages lost during a government shutdown. 

The lawsuit argues that the administration has violated the Constitution's appropriations clause and the 13th Amendment by requiring employees to work without pay during a federal closure. 

“Hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be required to work during a shutdown, and there’s no guarantee that Congress will keep the administration’s promise to pay those employees once the shutdown is over,” said John Gage, AFGE's general president, in a statement. “The Constitution requires an appropriation by Congress before federal dollars can be spent, no exceptions. ... Without an appropriation, the agencies simply can't spend money or incur debts by forcing employees to work.”


—Kevin Bogardus and Julian Pecquet contributed to this story.