Online Feature

Ensuring Good Deeds Go Unpunished: The SCRA, FECRA, IFRFEA, and Protecting Federal Employees During Shutdowns

Russell Spivak

As the nation has seen multiple times in recent years, federal government shutdowns are harmful to the American public, but are disastrous for federal employees. In the most recent shutdown, nearly a million people missed two paychecks, many of whom were nonetheless required to show up to work and thus forego earning a supplemental wage elsewhere. This was not just. Some lawmakers have tried to rectify this by proposing bills that would create a framework for protections based on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which enshrines particular safeguards against litigation and administrative matters for those serving in uniform. This Article discusses those protections and their applicability to unpaid federal employees as well as other protections—some proposed, some not. The Article then reviews the constitutionality of the potential provisions. Finally, the Article addresses the political ramifications of such a law’s passage, namely if increased protections would beget more shutdowns.