On January 9, 2019, Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation to protect federal employees and contractors when they have to go without a paycheck during a government shutdown. If passed, the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act would help workers who’re having trouble paying their mortgage, rent, student loans, car payments, insurance, and other bills.
The most recent government shutdown began on December 22, 2018, when President Trump refused to support a bill to fund the government unless the bill contained approximately $5 billion to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. It has since become the longest shutdown in the nation’s history.
Currently, about 800,000 federal workers are either furloughed or working without pay due to the shutdown. So, it’s not surprising that many people are finding themselves in a tough spot when it comes to paying their mortgage or rent, and other bills.
To provide relief, Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation called the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Representative Derek Kilmer (D-Washington) are leading the effort.
If passed, the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act would protect federal workers from:
The protections would last during the government shutdown and for 30 days afterward. The bill also gives federal workers the ability to sue creditors or landlords that violate the protections.
You can keep track of the progress of the Federal Employee Civil Relief Act (S. 72) at Congress.gov.
To learn about different options if you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments during the shutdown, see What to Do If You Can’t Pay Your Mortgage Due to a Government Shutdown.
Effective date: January 9, 2019