At U.S. Air Force bases overseas in the Pacific region, all of 15 nonappropriated fund local hires currently qualify for post allowance, officials announced last week.

But that could change, as Pacific Air Forces officials also said the service is reviewing a policy that limits post allowance only to local hires guaranteed 40 hours a week, rather than basing eligibility on actual hours worked.

Most Air Force NAF regular employees are guaranteed just 20 hours per week, according to PACAF spokeswoman Capt. Renee Lee.

As it stands, that disqualifies them from post allowance, but they’re eligible for annual and sick leave, retirement and insurance benefits.

PACAF officials did not identify how many of its U.S. citizens hired abroad for NAF jobs work 40 or more hours a week.

When asked if they would receive post allowance, Lee in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes stated the Air Force is reviewing the policy “and will make a decision in the near future.”

For the 15 NAF local hires currently eligible, the cost to pay them post allowance is an estimated $100,000 a year, Lee said. The benefit is part of employee compensation and is paid by the employing organization, she said.

Just where those 15 local hires work and in what jobs is unclear.

Misawa Air Base has one local hire eligible for post allowance, officials said, without identifying the position. In total, the Air Force at Misawa employs 113 U.S. citizen NAF regular employees — 112 of whom are guaranteed 20 hours.

Ricky Harness, 35th Services Squadron deputy director, explained that guaranteeing NAF employees 20 hours is not a recent change, and is standard practice across the Air Force.

“Most regular positions are guaranteed 20 hours/week in order to give management the maximum flexibility to manage schedules and NAF payroll expenses,” he said in a written response to Stars and Stripes.

Harness said it’s currently unknown whether local hires previously guaranteed 40 hours would qualify for any post-allowance back pay.

Officials at Kadena and Yokota could not provide information about local hires at their bases by the end of the day Friday, though they said they expected to be able to by next week. The Marines and the Navy in Japan have not said when they could provide any answers.

NAF employers are still in the process of determining how many eligible U.S. citizens were not receiving post allowance, said Defense Department spokesman Les Melynk in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

“Current employees who are eligible for post allowance will begin receiving the appropriate amount in their paychecks within the next several weeks,” he wrote April 25.

Stars and Stripes reporter Matt Millham contributed to this story.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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