More feds may receive early back pay Thursday

October 23, 2013

Employees of the Internal Revenue Service and Customs and Border Protection may receive back pay for the recent shutdown period as early as Thursday, according to the agencies and their payroll processors.

A US Border Patrol agent stands near a crossing to Mexico at the San Ysidro port of entry. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP-Getty Images).
A US Border Patrol agent stands near a crossing to Mexico at the San Ysidro port of entry. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP-Getty Images).

Monday is the next regularly scheduled pay date for both organizations, but some agencies are trying to rush funds to their workers after they went without checks during the 16-day government closure.

Last week, the Social Security Administration said it will advance a portion of the back pay it owes to employees by Wednesday. Retroactive compensation is due to federal workers under a provision in the spending deal that Congress and the White House reached to end the shutdown.

Many employees, particularly those with CBP, had to work during the lapse in congressional funding because their jobs involve protection of life and property — meaning they are exempt from furloughs.

The latest back pay announcements came by way of messages from CBP Assistant Commissioner Eugene Schied and IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel.

“We know that the last few weeks have been financially and emotionally unsettling for you,” Werfel said in a statement to IRS employees. “Thank you for your patience and support during this time.”

In their next checks, IRS employees will receive all of the money they are owed for the last pay period, in addition to four days worth of wages they missed after the shutdown started during their last period. The combined funding is expected to reach their accounts as early as Thursday.

CBP workers will receive half of their shutdown pay on Thursday, while the remainder of the retroactive compensation will appear along with their on-duty pay on Monday.

Federal-worker unions have applauded the moves to accelerate back pay.

“For many employees, the delay in receiving their paychecks has strained their budgets and left them with bills they could not pay,” said National Treasury Employees Union president Colleen M. Kelley. “This is unacceptable, and my discussions with agency leaders were focused on getting these employees paid right away.”

To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed or e-mail  josh.hicks@washpost.comFor more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Josh Hicks · October 23, 2013