Quick Hits

*** The American Federation of Government Employees is suing the federal government over the practice of requiring workers deemed essential to work during a lapse in appropriations, alleging it violates labor law. The lawsuit claims that the practice of withholding paychecks from excepted employees while requiring them to perform their duties is "willful and in conscious or reckless disregard of the requirements of the" Federal Labor Standards Act.

"Positions that are considered 'essential' during a government shutdown are some of the most dangerous jobs in the federal government," said AFGE national president J. David Cox Sr. in a statement. "AFGE members and their families deserve the decency of knowing when their next paycheck is coming and that they will be paid for their work."

The named plaintiffs Justin Tarovisky and Grayson Sharp work in federal prisons. The lawsuit claims their overtime work occurring after the partial shutdown took place was not included in their most recent paycheck. However the lawsuit was filed on behalf of all federal employees tagged with "essential" status during the current shutdown.

*** The Government Accountability Office warned contractors not to sleep on filing bid protests during the current partial lapse in appropriations. GAO is fully funded by the legislative branch appropriation, which was signed in to law last year. In a notice on the GAO website, the congressional agency advised that new bid protests, even those disputing contracting awards made by agencies partially closed during the shutdown, need to be made according to normal filing deadlines. Protestors should not wait for the agencies in question to receive their funding. However, agency counsel can expect to receive extensions as needed.