Some Air Force NAF employees left hanging
Stars and Stripes April 19, 2008
Gerald Weir found out Friday – his day off — that he wasn’t going to get the money he’d been hoping for.
But Weir, the housekeeping supervisor for Spangdahlem Air Base’s temporary living facility, is going to continue to fight for it. He’s already called a lawyer, and plans to meet on Monday with dozens of other angry people in the same predicament he’s in.
The reason they’re so angry?
Nearly a month after the Defense Department ordered all NAF employers to begin paying post allowance to all who qualify, the Air Force announced Friday that an additional 58 of its personnel in Europe would get it.
That tally, by Weir’s estimate — and by others he works with — doesn’t include hundreds of people in Europe who work full-time hours without full-time recognition.
The guidance given Friday to Air Force NAF employees says that full time is defined as regular employees who are U.S. citizens and have a guaranteed work week of 40 hours as listed on their personnel action form.
To be guaranteed 40 hours, a box next to the words “full-time” must be checked on that form. That check is the difference between getting post allowance and not getting it.
“I work 40 hours a week,” said Weir, whose personnel form has him listed as a part-time employee despite the fact that he’s worked 40-hour weeks as a NAF employee for at least a dozen years.
If the full-time box were checked he’d get at least $6,000 a year in post allowance, a pay supplement meant to offset the high cost of living in some overseas areas.
According to what Air Force NAF employees have been told, full-time status isn’t given to employees below the management level, which means only the highest-paid workers get post allowance.
That also leaves the majority of the Air Force’s NAF work force out of the money.
Weir suggested there could be hundreds left out at Spangdahlem alone. There are at least 27 NAF employees who work 40 hours a week at Spangdahlem’s Eifel Arms Inn, and the squadron they fall under has more than 500 civilian employees, he said.
Stars and Stripes wasn’t able to determine how many of those people might qualify for post allowance if the Air Force authorized it for all U.S. citizens working 40-hour weeks.
But U.S. Air Force Europe did release how many Spangdahlem NAF employees would start getting post allowance: one.
Micheal Dean, Weir’s boss, is that one. Dean, more than anyone, has been fighting for the allowance, and said he’ll continue to fight for the rest of his employees to get it.
Dean thinks he has a good chance of convincing the Air Force it’s wrong.
He cites a 28-year-old Defense Department instruction that provides a different definition of full time. If there’s ever a conflict, the department’s regulations and instructions trump those of the services.
The instruction, DOD Instruction 1330.20, says “Regular full-time employees are those people hired for continuing positions who have a regularly scheduled workweek of 35 hours or more.”
The instruction goes on to say, “Regular part-time employees are those people hired for continuing positions for a minimum of 20 hours per week but less than 35 hours per week on a regularly scheduled basis.”
“I mean if that’s not cut-and- dried, black-and-white, plain-and-simple, I don’t know what is,” said Dean.
An Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon referred all queries about post allowance to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
A spokesman for that office was looking into the Defense Department’s definition of full time but was unable to provide an answer by deadline.
The 58 full-time Air Force NAF employees who have been told they’ll get post allowance will start getting it Sunday. Payments to those employees are expected to cost about $557,000 annually, according to USAFE.