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ARLINGTON, Va. — Although efforts by a federal reservist to collect back pay from his civilian agency for time spent in uniform have hit a snag, the 100,000 federal reservists eligible for compensation under a previous court ruling should “file now and don’t wait,” an attorney for the issue said.

Just one day before a court-ordered deadline of Jan. 6, the Department of Agriculture asked the Merit Systems Protection Board to review a Nov. 18 ruling in favor John Collins, an Army reservist who worked as a government food safety inspector in the early 1990s.

There are at least 100,000 federal reservists who are eligible for payments to cover leave charged between 1994 and 2000, Tully, a partner in the Albany, NY.-based firm Tully, Rinckey & Associates, told Stars and Stripes on Tuesday.

Thanks to a July 2005 Merit Board ruling, “most of [those] claims are settled without litigation,” Tully said.

The issue involves a long-standing government policy that charged federal reservists annual leave for attending drill, training and other military obligations on weekends or other days not required by their civilian schedules.

Congress stopped the practice in 2000, and in July the Merit Systems Protection Board ruled that government agencies owed back wages to reservists charged leave for personal time between 1994 and 2000.

For information on applying for a settlement, go to www.fedattorney.com or contact an attorney.

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