A Costless Way for Trump & Congress to Save Jobs
Lawmakers are working at breakneck pace to combat the coronavirus-induced economic panic. Checks for citizens, flexible business loans, free coronavirus tests, and more are being considered in a bipartisan effort to restore jobs and to stop unemployment from reaching 20 percent.
We’re grateful that Congress and the White House are coming through for the American people, as lawmakers did in 2008 and 2009 during the Great Recession. As the final adjustments are made to the stimulus package, we urge lawmakers to make two temporary, cost-free changes to federal law which will save hundreds of thousands of jobs.
These jobs are held by America’s small business government contractors – private-sector public servants who have been forced to work remotely due to coronavirus concerns. Some of these jobs cannot be done remotely because of the hands-on, sensitive, or classified nature of their work. What this means is that contractors are working fewer hours and making less money…forcing business owners have to make hard choices about paying staff, firing employees and even keeping the lights on.
As one of our firm’s small business clients put it, “Reducing my revenue in half with no reduction in expenses will destroy my company.” It will also put the company’s employees out of work and hurt their families, create long-term unemployment long after the coronavirus pandemic has ended, and delay the completion of critical federal work.
The first thing lawmakers can do to save contractor jobs is to direct contracting officers to automatically allow as much remote work as possible without risking national security. This would ease the financial burdens of many contractors and keep them larely on-track to complete their work for the American people.
Second, contractors should be temporarily treated the same as federal employees when it comes to forced paid time off. During the unique and devastating crisis through which we are living, if federal agencies send all staff and contractors home for two weeks, businesses are currently at risk to go bankrupt. The federal government should continue to pay both employees and contractors, securing financial stability for millions of people.
The best part about these policies is that they will save American jobs but won’t cost taxpayers a dime. The money to pay contractors is already allocated, so continuing to pay contractors would simply release the money as scheduled. For remote work, all lawmakers have to do is authorize and direct contracting officers to execute the policy. In doing so, lawmakers will actually save money, keep Americans employed, and reduce financial stresses for companies and families alike.
Keeping contractors in business saves taxpayers money by keeping contracts current and moving. Restarting unfulfilled contracts is expensive, especially when the contracted company went out of business through no fault of its own. Government contractors will also be able to keep paying their employees, reducing the need for unemployment benefits and other government assistance.
Congress and President Donald Trump are right to act to save millions of jobs and to provide for the financial and health security of tens of millions of Americans. They should create a huge, cost-free stimulus by keeping jobs in place and over 47,000 small businesses alive which may not otherwise be able to weather this economic storm.
The major stress on the economy is employee layoffs across the country and correspondingly reduced incomes. Giving contractors greater flexibility to fulfill their work and support the federal government will keep Americans working and bring financial security to their families.