Most Civilian Defense Employees Ordered Back to Work

Traffic is a lot lighter outside MacDill's main gate since 1,500 workers were furloughed Tuesday.

Traffic is a lot lighter outside MacDill’s main gate since 1,500 workers were furloughed Tuesday.

The Pentagon is ordering most of its 400,000 furloughed workers back on the job according to the Washington Post.

The decision by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is based on a Pentagon legal interpretation of a law called the Pay Our Military Act.

That measure was passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama shortly before the partial government shutdown began Tuesday.

The Pentagon did not immediately say on Saturday exactly how many workers will return to work. The Defense Department said “most” were being brought back.

The Department of Defense issued a statement Saturday from Secretary Hagel that relies on a legal opinion and would allow the recall of employees essential for morale, well-being and readiness :

Today I am announcing that most DoD civilians placed on emergency furlough during the government shutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week.

Immediately after President Obama signed the Pay Our Military Act into law, I directed DoD’s Acting General Counsel to determine whether we could reduce the number of civilian personnel furloughed due to the shutdown. The Department of Defense consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians.  However, DoD and DOJ attorneys concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.

So, Hagel has directed all departments to review the furloughed civilian employees and states that he believes they’ll be able to “significantly reduce – but not eliminate – civilian furloughs under this process.”

You can read the full Sec. Hagel statement.

 

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