OPM: ‘Most' Furloughed Employees Should Get Back Pay by Thursday

"Thanks to the hard work of talented employees ... furloughed employees are getting paid in record time," the acting OPM director said

It's the day furloughed federal workers have been waiting for: payday.

Most federal workers affected by the 35-day-long government shutdown should receive back pay by Thursday, Jan. 31, the acting director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Margaret Weichert, said in a tweet on Tuesday.

"Thanks to the hard work of talented employees at @USOPM @OMBPress @DeptofDefense #DFAS @usda #NFC @USGSA @Interior furloughed employees are getting paid in record time," Weichert wrote. 

Neither OPM nor the U.S. Office of Management and Budget immediately responded to questions on how many workers were on track to be paid or how many checks had been issued.

The shutdown left 800,000 federal workers with two paychecks reading "$0.00" between Dec. 22 and Jan. 25. Many essential workers, such as TSA agents, were forced to show up to work without pay.

Under the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act that President Donald Trump signed into law on Jan. 16, workers are set to get back pay "as soon as possible after the lapse in appropriations ends, regardless of scheduled pay dates." That means they should not have to wait for their next payday to get back wages.

If you need proof that the government shutdown is affecting people, take a look at these lines. Scores of furloughed federal workers stood in the cold Friday in Capitol Heights, Maryland, to get free groceries. “I think I cry every day,” one woman told News4’s Tracee Wilkins.

No bill was passed to provide back pay for contractors, however. Many were suddenly left without a paying job.

To speed up the process of cutting checks, OPM said payroll employees could make simplifying assumptions. This means that some pay, including overtime, may not be reflected in the first check.

Payroll providers will make adjustments as soon as practical, according to guidance published by OPM.

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