While it’s still unclear how many nonappropriated fund U.S. local hires at Pacific bases will get post allowance, some employees at Air Force bases working 40 hours or more per week have found out they don’t qualify due to a loophole.

The Air Force has two “Regular” categories of NAF employees. One category is guaranteed a minimum of 40 hours a week, and the other is guaranteed 20 hours a week. Flexible is a third category, with no guarantee of minimum hours.

One NAF employee at Yokota Air Base, who asked to remain anonymous, received a memo Thursday informing her that she was not entitled to post allowance.

Only those who are U.S. citizens and are “Regular” employees with a guaranteed work week of 40 hours as listed on their personnel record would get the benefit, the memo said. Even though the employee works 40 hours a week, she does not qualify because she’s guaranteed only 20 hours per week.

“DoD NAF employers have responsibility for staffing and scheduling their workforces, including the responsibility to establish the definition of what constitutes a part-time or full-time work schedule within the Component,” Lt. Col. Les’ Melnyk, a Defense Department spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

Some NAF employees had their guaranteed hours reduced from 40 to 20 hours per week last summer at Yokota.

In a memo given to Stars and Stripes by an anonymous NAF employee, it was stated the reason for the reclassification was “to maintain consistency in this organization by offering only a guarantee of 20 hours per week to all regular employees.” The action was effective July 30, 2007. Employees were asked to sign it, acknowledging their receipt of the memo.

NAF local hires at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa appear to be up against the same loophole. According to information found on 18th Services’ Web page, all NAF positions “are categorized as Regular (guaranteed minimum 20 hours per week) or Flexible (no guaranteed hours).”

A NAF employee on Okinawa, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of job reprisal, said he learned last week he did not qualify for post allowance, despite never working less than 40 hours a week in the year and a half he’s been on island. He, too, is guaranteed only 20 hours per week.

It wasn’t a surprise: He saw the 20 hours in his personnel file when he took the job.

“The person who hired me said, ‘Don’t worry about it. You’ll always get 40 hours.’” What was a surprise was not being eligible for post allowance.

“Post allowance, that’s $10,000 a year for most people and it’s tax free,” he said. “We’re not talking a couple of hundred of dollars. I’m pissed.”

As of Friday, Air Force officials in Japan were still working on answering a query from Stars and Stripes about how many U.S. NAF local hires would receive post allowance.

Related article:

AAFES drafting appeal on post allowance

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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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