The recent government shutdown here in New Jersey may have come and gone for the rest of the country, but for our government workers, the lost time will translate directly to lost pay, at least for now. It also serves to highlight an often-overlooked issue for government workers — in the event of a shutdown, what are they supposed to do about the lost time they won’t be paid for?
Fortunately, a plan is already in place to retroactively pay employees for the lost wages, but it required a special assembly at the Statehouse to work out the fine points. It took an emergency meeting by the state legislature to work out a bill to authorize the back payment, which Governor Christie previously said was not something to count on.
Whether you are a government employee or not, when you work for an employer, that employer has certain obligations to you that they may attempt to shirk, specifically when it comes to paying you fairly in the face of unexpected disruptions. If you work in the private sector, there is not likely to be an emergency legislative meeting to make sure that your employer pays you fairly according to your employment contract.
In these cases, it is helpful to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you understand the scope of your contract and identify strategies to recover lost wages. And remember, not only are you fighting for yourself and your own rights, but also the rights of thousands of other employees who face unfair business practices every day.
Source: Burlington County Times, “NJ votes to approve back pay for furloughed workers; Assembly speaker says he’ll call a vote later this month,” David Levinsky, July 13, 2017