LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va., – Civilians across Air Combat Command returned to work with pay and benefits Oct. 7, following implementation of the Pay our Military Act, or POMA.
ACC furloughed a total of approximately 7,500 civilians Oct. 1-4 as part of the federal government’s partial shutdown.
“POMA allows us to provide pay and allowances for civilians who provide support for members of the Armed Forces,” said Robert Hale, DOD comptroller and chief financial officer. “We can pay these people in a timely fashion and so our paydays for them will be on time and we can recall from furlough most DOD civilians.”
There are approximately 10,000 civilians employed at 14 installations and 22 wings by ACC, a quarter of whom were not furloughed.
Upon returning to work, civilians may only support excepted activities, defined by POMA as protecting life and property, contributing to the morale, welfare, capabilities and readiness of active-duty service members or otherwise supporting service members. Previously scheduled leave is still in effect.
Pay for the four furlough days will be delayed until a budget or continuing resolution funding government operations is passed and signed into law.
Health care benefits continue, regardless of furlough status, according to the Office of Personnel Management’s guidance on emergency furlough procedures. During furlough, unpaid health, vision and dental premiums are paid in full when normal pay resumes.
The Thrift Savings Plan and Federal Employees Retirement System, which are part of civilian employees retirement benefits, will continue investment activities during the government shutdown even if contributions from civilians cease, according to a release from the Thrift Savings Plan board.
While all ACC civilians have returned to work, some civilians at Headquarters Air Force remain furloughed.
“From day one, our primary focus has been to rapidly get as many people back to work as soon as possible; and we will continue those efforts. We are a team, a family — always have been,” said Eric K. Fanning, acting secretary of the Air Force. “We will not be a fully-functioning organization until the last member returns.”