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Furloughed Guard employees back on job, to receive back pay

ROBINSON MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas National Guard has recalled all of its furloughed state and federal employees back to work now that the government shutdown is resolved and a temporary funding measure is in place

Guard leaders have also learned that the language of the appropriation bill included retroactive pay for all of its classifications of furloughed employees.

“We had significant concern that the language of the funding bill would not include back pay for our state employees like it did for the federal military technicians,” said Brig. Gen. Keith Klemmer, deputy adjutant general for the Arkansas National Guard, in a press release. “They are important members of our Guard organization, and have been hit the hardest by this shutdown.”

Clarification on the retroactive pay question for state employees came late Thursday in a memorandum to all state agencies from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration’s Office of Personnel Management. The memo states, “The federal legislation also specially states that furloughed employees shall be compensated for hours furloughed during the shutdown period.

“The past few weeks were hard on the Guard; we have a lot of healing to do,” said Maj. Gen. William D. Wofford, the adjutant general for Arkansas, in the press release. “However, I am inspired by our Guardsmen, civilian employees and communities who came together during this challenging time to get the job done.”

The temporary funding bill enables the Guard to resume normal monthly training weekends for all units starting in November, and the operations and maintenance funds will again make it possible to purchase fuel, parts and supplies for Guard equipment and facilities.

“We still have some challenges ahead,” Wofford said. “The shutdown will continue to have second- and third-order effects on our Guardsmen, civilian employees and families for months to come.”

In moving forward, Wofford said the Guard would hold several reintegration events for furloughed workers much like those conducted for veterans returning from overseas in order to provide assistance resources, financial management planning and answers to payroll and benefits questions.

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