At least 2,650 furloughed Department of Defense civilian personnel at Fort Carson, the Air Force Academy and NORAD will return to work Monday.
The move was triggered by the new Pay Our Military Act, which was signed into law Sept. 30, and reviews by Department of Defense and Justice Department attorneys, who determined the employees were considered essential personnel.
One thousand civilian employees at Fort Carson, 700 civilian employees at NORAD and Northern Command and 950 employees at the Air Force Academy received notice this weekend to report back to work. The employees were furloughed Tuesday after the partial shutdown of the federal government.
"We don't have the exact number of how many employees will actually report for work, but it's about 1,000 people," Maj. Earl Brown, deputy public affairs officer at Fort Carson, said Sunday. "Now the most important thing we're all waiting for is Congress to pass a bill that will retroactively pay these folks."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a statement saying the DOD's acting general counsel, working closely with the Department of Justice, concluded the new law did not permit a blanket recall of all civilian employees, but under the act's provisions, more personnel could be identified as essential and exempt from furloughs.
"DOD and DOJ attorneys concluded the law does allow for the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members," the press release stated.
"Having more than two-thirds of our employees not here to support the Air Force's Academy mission to produce lieutenants for our Air Force and our nation has been tremendously disruptive," Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson said in a press release Sunday.
"While the progress to bring back more than 950 people is encouraging, our thoughts go out to our teammates who are still at home without pay."
The reinstatement means 175 commissaries will reopen, including the ones at Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base, which get back to business Monday.
"It's not clear how many more furloughed employees will get back to work at Peterson Air Force Base," Public Affairs Lt. Stacy Glaus said. "All I know is that civilians working under Space Command are expected to get back to work Monday, but the numbers should start trickling in as the week progresses."
Colorado Springs was hit hard by the federal government shutdown.
The area has 55,000 federal workers, or 18.8 percent of the workforce, a Washington Post study found.
The area has 13,500 federal civilian employees, and about half were furloughed without pay during the shutdown.
"Ultimately, the surest way to end these damaging and irresponsible furloughs, and to enable us to fulfill our mission as a department, is for Congress to pass a budget and restore funds for the entire federal government," Hagel stated.