Private companies wondering what to do about workers among the reservists mobilized because of the Persian Gulf situation ought to take a look at what the government plans for its employees going into uniform.
Unlike many private firms that discourage workers from involvement in National Guard or reserve activities, the government makes it attractive for employees to belong. For that reason, federal/postal workers make up the backbone of many Army and Air National Guard and reserve units. About 138,000 federal employees are members of the selected reserve, subject to immediate callup. An additional 21,700 have individual ready reserve status.
Federal workers can draw their full government salary plus military pay for up to 15 days each year while on active duty. Those who are mobilized can be paid for annual leave they have accumulated. They also continue to earn credit for sick leave, annual leave and retirement while on military duty, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
OPM Director Constance Newman has told federal agencies to go beyond what they have to do by law for employees called to military service. She is encouraging agencies to keep employees on unpaid leave status during their military service to protect their health and life insurance benefits. Newman also wants agencies to pay the full cost of health premiums for employees who are mobilized. Normally, the government pays about 60 percent of the total premium. The U.S. Postal Service, which has 16,000 workers in Guard and reserve units, says it will pay the total premiums for at least 13 weeks.
Agencies have been told they can detail other workers -- but not put in permanent replacements -- to cover for workers who are mobilized.
Furloughs and Delays
The deficit-reduction talks between the White House and congressional leaders will determine whether federal workers are furloughed, and if the January 1990 pay-pension increase is trimmed or delayed. Several readers have asked who will make those decisions.
Here are the names of the budget summit team members. Some, obviously, will be easier to reach than others.
The White House team includes the president, Chief of Staff John H. Sununu, Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady and budget director Richard G. Darman.
Congressional Democrats are House Majority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.), Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (Maine), House Speaker Thomas S. Foley (Wash.), Sen. Wyche Fowler Jr. (Ga.), Rep. William H. Gray III (Pa.), Sen. Jim Sasser (Tenn.), Sen. Robert C. Byrd (W.Va.), Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (Tex.), and Reps. Leon E. Panetta (Calif.), Jamie L. Whitten (Miss.) and Dan Rostenkowski (Ill.).
Congressional Republicans are Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole (Kan.), House Minority Leader Robert H. Michel (Ill.), Sen. Phil Gramm (Tex.), Rep. Newt Gingrich (Ga.), Sens. Pete V. Domenici (N.M.) and Bob Packwood (Ore.), and Reps. Bill Frenzel (Minn.), Silvio O. Conte (Mass.) and Bill Archer (Tex.).