Nearly all of the Iowa National Guard employees who were furloughed by the government shutdown are returning to work. Just over 1,000 federal technicians are being recalled based on an interpretation of the Pay Our Military Act, signed by President Obama last week, which allows civilian workers who provide direct services to the military to be paid during the shutdown.
Colonel Greg Hapgood says the Guard received word on Sunday. “With the technicians gone last week, that meant more than 50-percent of our workforce was furloughed,” Hapgood said. “It made things extremely difficult. Things took longer…ultimately, down the road, it could really affect our readiness.”
Those Guard employees who are returning to work are responsible for the maintenance of vehicles, aircraft, or administrative duties. “The longer the shutdown goes on, the more adverse effects will be felt across every federal agency. At the Iowa National Guard, we’ve been really fortunate do have these 1,000 employees brought back from furlough, but other agencies haven’t been as fortunate as we have,” Hapgood said.
In Iowa, 21 National Guard civilian employees remain on furlough. If the shutdown continues past October 18, Hapgood says an additional 96 employees will be temporarily laid off.