View Poll Results: Should they recieve back pay

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  • Yes

    17 56.67%
  • No

    10 33.33%
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    2 6.67%
  • Other (explain)

    1 3.33%
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Thread: Should non-essential employees get back pay?

  1. #11
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    Re: Should non-essential employees get back pay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andalublue View Post
    I'm guessing that this eventuality must be covered in the public employees' contracts of employment. What does that say?
    If I could vote Best Answer, you'd get it, Andalublue.

    Got me to thinking about it -- and here's what I found: The American Federation of Government Employees (their largest union) has already filed suit.

    AFGE | Press Releases - April 6, 2011 - Union Files Lawsuit Regarding Government Shutdown
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  2. #12
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    Re: Should non-essential employees get back pay?

    I'm going to abstain from voting since I'd be a bit tainted, as I am a government employee.

    I of course would be happy with back pay. While I won't be working during this time, there work that would be done during it will still need to be completed once I return to the office after a shutdown, lkely resulting in the need to take unpaid overtime to get it done in a timely fashion or to stay buried under work. At the same time, I would fully understand and be fine with no back pay being paid out. I know we're in a financial situation right now in this country that's a bit tenuous and paying workers who were punished for government incompetence may be a perk that we just can't do right now.

    Ultimately I think what would be best would be backpay at 1/2 of what your normal pay would be. This would help the employees who are being put into a bad situation due to the incompetence of politicians not doing THEIR job by giving them some restitution from the salarise they were expecting to be paid that will help with the bills and other expenses that they're incurring during this time off. It would however not be as large of a payout as a full on back pay, making it so that those that did get to still work actually get paid more than their non-essential counter parts.

    I can see this both ways, from my own ideological stand point and from my own realistic stand point. I can completely see the belief of not paying people for not doing work, while at the same time I can understand not punishing people because congress decided to use them as political pawns.

    Maggie, I do like the notion of allowing Govt employees to choose to use their leave time during this process. That would at least give some people the oppertunity to not have a gap in pay while at the same time not giving people payment for nothing.

  3. #13
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    Re: Should non-essential employees get back pay?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    If I could vote Best Answer, you'd get it, Andalublue.

    Got me to thinking about it -- and here's what I found: The American Federation of Government Employees (their largest union) has already filed suit.

    AFGE | Press Releases - April 6, 2011 - Union Files Lawsuit Regarding Government Shutdown
    I kind of wonder what effect this would have on the large number of federal employees that aren't unionized (like myself)

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    Re: Should non-essential employees get back pay?

    I know this has been asked before but I've never seen a credible answer to it. Why does the USA government have non-essential employees? Maybe that is a big part of y'alls problems.

    .

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    Re: Should non-essential employees get back pay?

    Quote Originally Posted by TOJ View Post
    I know this has been asked before but I've never seen a credible answer to it. Why does the USA government have non-essential employees? Maybe that is a big part of y'alls problems.

    .
    Well, I can give some insight into this.

    "Essential" employees are generally those whose duties are needed to maintain safety in society. So law enforcement, emergency response, etc. Just about everything else is considered non-essential save for a few odd ones like social security processing.

    Some "non-essential things".

    People who approve, crease, and mail out passports.

    Almost everyone working at a national park or the various monuments and museums in DC.

    Actually, most of your public employees in DC, since the city itself is funded off federal money.

    Administrative people in every agency, including those that are flled with "essential" people. So even though the Secret Service might be have a large number of "essential" employees their trainers, HR people, budget people, a number of analysts, individuals that process time and attendence of expense vouchers, and other such things.

    The majority of people in your various agencies that aren't directly related to some kind of safety service or a social service of vital importance. So a lot of stuff from your department of Agriculture, education, energy, labor, interior, treasury, etc.

    The problem is people hear "non-essential" and think that they're not essential to how the government works. That's not really correct. They're non-essential during a time where there's no money to do just about anything and they're keeping only those employees that are needed to keep things orderly.

    Imagine a company. Imagine that you get rid of everyone that can process pay. Imagine you get rid of the entire HR section. Imagine you get rid of all your budgetary planners. Get rid of anyone that writes up and develops policy. Get rid of a number of your analysts. Get rid of your janitors, secretaries, and others like that. Get rid of your program managers that help create new initatives or business practices.

    This is essentially what you're doing if you just say scrap "non-essential" employees. The names a bit misleading. For example, where I work the there are a lot of employees that are "essential" because they're in law enforcement. I guarantee though we'd never be able to staff this place if they knew they'd be working months at a time without pay, without reimbursement for the large job expenses they incur, had no HR help at all regarding various issues, had a miniture staff planning how the operations would go forth, had no policy upon which to follow, etc.

    If you have no money to pay people, no money to run or create new programs, no money to pay expense voucher, no money to fund HR programs or payout benefits, etc then its not really "essential" to have those people there during that time that would do those things.

    So if we didn't want the government to issue passports anymore, we could get rid of those "non-essential employees". If we expect all federal employees to work for free, have no benefits, and never be able to buy supplies we could get rid of those employees. If we didn't think agencies need policies but they should just do whatever, we could get rid of them. If we think DC shouldn't function, we could ditch them. If we figure we shouldn't have monuments or parks we could remove them. If you feel that agencies should just spend however they want and not figure out budgets for themselves we could get rid of those people. If you don't want people planning initiatives and programs to improve the workforces actions towards the mission we can ditch them. And on and on.

    But many "non-essential" employees, when you look at the full scope of what these agencies are supposed to do and are looking at a time period larger than a 2 week span that has no money, are not exactly "non-essential" to the mission at large.

  6. #16
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    Re: Should non-essential employees get back pay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    It looks as if a government shutdown is extremely likely to occur at midnight tonight. When that happens essential employees will continue to work, but will not be paid until the shutdown ends. Non-essential employees will be furloughed without their salaries. In 1996, when passing the new budget, the congresses authorized backpay for the employees that were furloughed. Whether or not that will occur for this shutdown is unknown. My question to you is should it be?

    Going against the notion of back pay is a couple of things that I can think of. First and foremost, these individuals will not have worked adn thus shouldn't be entitled to pay. Additionally, as we know we're in a financially troubled time in this country and not paying them would mean more money to be used elsewhere.

    On the flip side, these individuals are not striking. They are not choosing to not work. They are being forced out of their job because the Congress is not successfully doing theirs. They are already being punished by essentially having their salaries at the very least delayed, potentially causing issues for various bills and expenses, and by causing their workload to significantly pile up. Should they have extra punishment placed on top for Congresses ineptitude by not just delaying, but cutting, their salaries?

    So what do you all say? Should there be back pay, should they be paid nothing, or some other alternative?
    If they have been furloughed then that means they did not work. So the answer is not they should not get back pay.The idea of furlough days is so you can save money by not having people work, not so people can be paid for work they didn't do.
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    Re: Should non-essential employees get back pay?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    If I could vote Best Answer, you'd get it, Andalublue.

    Got me to thinking about it -- and here's what I found: The American Federation of Government Employees (their largest union) has already filed suit.

    AFGE | Press Releases - April 6, 2011 - Union Files Lawsuit Regarding Government Shutdown
    Ah, well there you go. I thought that there must be some legal repercussions for this. You can't just lay people off with no recompense, thus breaking the terms of the contract of employment between employer and employee. Doubly so when such provisions do not apply to those responsible for the shut down, i.e. Congress. They get a paid holiday, public employees get a black hole in their family finances.
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    Re: Should non-essential employees get back pay?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesrage View Post
    If they have been furloughed then that means they did not work. So the answer is not they should not get back pay.The idea of furlough days is so you can save money by not having people work, not so people can be paid for work they didn't do.
    This is correct if the furlough is being done to "save money". For example, some months ago there was talk about furlouging federal employees 2 weeks out of the year. The plan was to do one day a pay period over a period of 14 pay periods so as not to create a hardship on the employees of an entire 2 week period without pay. This was going to be done to "save money".

    This is not the case of the current furlough. This is not the congress choosing to furlough federal employees to save money, but rather that there is simply no money available to PAY employees so you can't have them come to work. So you can either fire them, or furlough them. Since there will be money at some point eventually its better to furlough them, keep them employed, and bring them back at the point that you DO have money to pay them.

    So in general I agree with you there when a furlough is done to save money. That however is not how this furlough is coming to be. Its not being voted on by congress to save money, its occuring because Congress isn't authorizing any money to pay at the moment. So you're dealing with two different scenarios there.

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    Re: Should non-essential employees get back pay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    This is correct if the furlough is being done to "save money". For example, some months ago there was talk about furlouging federal employees 2 weeks out of the year. The plan was to do one day a pay period over a period of 14 pay periods so as not to create a hardship on the employees of an entire 2 week period without pay. This was going to be done to "save money".

    This is not the case of the current furlough. This is not the congress choosing to furlough federal employees to save money, but rather that there is simply no money available to PAY employees so you can't have them come to work. So you can either fire them, or furlough them. Since there will be money at some point eventually its better to furlough them, keep them employed, and bring them back at the point that you DO have money to pay them.

    So in general I agree with you there when a furlough is done to save money. That however is not how this furlough is coming to be. Its not being voted on by congress to save money, its occuring because Congress isn't authorizing any money to pay at the moment. So you're dealing with two different scenarios there.
    So, how come members of Congress still get paid?
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  10. #20
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    Re: Should non-essential employees get back pay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    It looks as if a government shutdown is extremely likely to occur at midnight tonight. When that happens essential employees will continue to work, but will not be paid until the shutdown ends. Non-essential employees will be furloughed without their salaries. In 1996, when passing the new budget, the congresses authorized backpay for the employees that were furloughed. Whether or not that will occur for this shutdown is unknown. My question to you is should it be?

    Going against the notion of back pay is a couple of things that I can think of. First and foremost, these individuals will not have worked adn thus shouldn't be entitled to pay. Additionally, as we know we're in a financially troubled time in this country and not paying them would mean more money to be used elsewhere.

    On the flip side, these individuals are not striking. They are not choosing to not work. They are being forced out of their job because the Congress is not successfully doing theirs. They are already being punished by essentially having their salaries at the very least delayed, potentially causing issues for various bills and expenses, and by causing their workload to significantly pile up. Should they have extra punishment placed on top for Congresses ineptitude by not just delaying, but cutting, their salaries?

    So what do you all say? Should there be back pay, should they be paid nothing, or some other alternative?
    They can go sign up for unemployment like everyone else who gets temporarily laid off.
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