No Longer Taking a Pay Cut to Serve

Friday - 4/10/2009, 5:20pm EDT

Amy Morris

As heard on sister station WTOP

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Take a close look at the nation's National Guard and Reserve units and you'll find a lot of civilian feds.

From enlisted to officer, plenty of feds make up a substantial chunk of the Guard and Reserve, but for years that's meant a significant pay cut.

Q: First things first -- why would they be taking a pay cut?

A: Because they wouldn't be collecting their civilian federal pay while serving in uniform.

Depending on their civilian federal job and their time in the Guard or Reserve, chances are they're taking a salary hit when they leave that civilian job to serve in hot spots like Iraq, Afghanistan -- and now there's talk of deployment on the border with Mexico, too.

This will also be incentive for feds who are serving to continue to serve in the Guard or Reserves.

Q: So, that's changing?

A: Yes.

The Office of Personnel Management has notified other agencies that whenever their employees are mobilized, they're entitled to two things: first, they're guaranteed a job when they return from their mobilization. Second, they'll be provided a supplemental payment that's equal to the difference between their civilian pay and their military pay.

So if you're making $75,000 a year, but as a reservist you're only making $40,000 a year, you'll get a supplemental income of $35,000

Q: When does this take effect?

A: Now.

This is called The Omnibus Appropriations Act.

HR officers at all the agencies should be aware of it, but setting this up is going to be easier said than done.

Most civilians are paid biweekly and the military tends to pay monthly.

Also, officials want to be sure that the mobilized feds are paid their differential, and aren't overpaid.

But, as of now, it is official.