After a year of devastating wildfires and destructive hurricanes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA, reportedly told its employees they might have to return some of their overtime pay, which they earned working extra hours to provide assistance to Americans in need, to the government.
The reason: federal pay caps.
“This year’s unprecedented hurricane season led to a record-setting length of national activation,” FEMA said, according to the Bloomberg. “Due to the extended work hours involved in supporting disaster recovery and response efforts for multiple storms, some employees have been affected by the annual maximum earnings limitation.”
To put it simply, some hardworking employees, who worked extra shifts wading through flooded streets and charred areas, hit the federal annual cap for 2017 and might have a certain amount deducted from their future paychecks.
It gets worse.
Last month, the agency also said some employees who hit the annual cap “may still be ordered to perform work without receiving further compensation.” Moreover, employees will “continue to receive their regular base pay regardless of whether they exceed the annual premium pay cap or not.” However, they will be required to pay back any excess amount next year, again.
“A bill will be determined and established for any premium pay amounts over the annual premium pay cap and the employee will be notified and billed in 2018 for that amount,” FEMA said.
While a different cap applies to different group of workers, the limits generally apply if they are earning at least $150,000 per year — it does not include overtime, though some employees may also face limits on overtime pay.
As the ABC Action News reported, the move will affect hundreds of FEMA workers.
After a year full of natural disasters, is this how the government is rewarding its workers for helping civilians in dire need of aid?