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After Shutdown, Retroactive Pay For NASA Contractors Dispersed “Case By Case” Says Agency’s Administrator

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine addresses employees nationwide during an agency-wide town hall after a 35-day partial government shutdown. Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Civil servants at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will receive retroactive pay this week after a 35-day shutdown but the fate of the thousands of center contractors who went without pay is unclear.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine fielded questions from employees across the country at a town hall Tuesday, addressing the nearly 90 percent workforce shortage due to the partial government shutdown.

Because there are different types of contracts that may or may not have been paid in advanced, retroactive pay for contract workers is on a case-by-case basis. “In some cases, people will get retroactive pay, in other cases, people will not,” said Bridenstine.

He’s calling for the standardization of future contracts within the agency to prevent economic uncertainty in the case of a future shutdown. “Every contract is different and so we’re working through that right now. In the future, we’d like to standardize that more, but we’re working with what we have right now.”

Congressman Bill Posey, who was a former contract worker during the Apollo program at KSC, sent a letter to appropriations committee earlier this month calling for equitable treatment of all contract employees as lawmakers draft appropriations bills. Posey’s office estimates nearly 11,000 of KSC’s 13,000 person workforce is employed as a contractor.

Bills filed  by Democrats in the House and Senate aim to provide lost wages up to $1,400 per week to federal contractors who were impacted by the partial government shutdown.

In a statement, Florida’s Republican Senator Rick Scott’s office said there was no reason for the government to shutdown and that Scott is committed to making changes for Florida families. A spokesperson for the Senator said he will “review any legislation put in front of him to right the wrongs caused by Washington’s dysfunction.” Republican Senator Marco Rubio could not be reached for comment.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »