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Most of 400,000 US defence staff told to return to work amid 'government shutdown'

Sunday, 6 October 2013 - 12:24pm IST | Agency: ANI

Most of the 400,000 US defence department staff given an 'unpaid holiday' amid the US government shutdown have reportedly been told to return to work next week.

A budget row between Republicans and Democrats has forced the closure of federal services for five days now although both the parties have now voted to approve back-pay for the 800,000 federal workers sent home without salaries.

According to the BBC, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the decision to bring back the staff to work was based on an interpretation of the 'Pay Our Military Act', which was passed by the Congress shortly before the shutdown.

Hagel, who had earlier stated that he wanted to find a way to get his civilian staff back to work, also said that lawyers had told him that the Act permitted employees 'whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members' to be exempted from the shutdown.

Hagel further said that he is expecting to significantly reduce but not eliminate 'civilian furloughs' under this process.

The House of Representatives on Saturday approved by 407-0 a bill to pay the federal workers once the shutdown ends, although there remains no sign of any deal on the federal budget, the report added.

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