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USFK classifies Koreans that won’t be subject to furlough

Mar 20,2020
U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Thursday it has completed sorting out its Korean employees that provide essential duties to be excluded from a potential furlough in case Seoul and Washington fail to work out a defense cost-sharing deal in time.

The USFK has warned that some of its 9,000 Korean workers could be forced to go on unpaid leave starting in April should Seoul and Washington fail to reach a deal on the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) that regulates their sharing of the upkeep of the 28,500-strong USFK on Korean soil.

“The USFK has completed its Partial Furlough Implementation Process analysis for Korean national employees who will be retained to provide life, health, safety and readiness services,” USFK said in a release, adding that it is reviewing the results with the union of the Korean employees.

“Unfortunately, should U.S.-ROK SMA negotiations fail to reach an agreement, the USFK will soon be required to distribute notification letters to those Korean employees subject to a furlough,” it said. ROK stands for South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea.

The military did not elaborate on how many workers will be subject to the leave. The two countries wrapped up the second day of their fresh round of negotiations in Los Angeles on Wednesday and could extend the talks for another day.

The United States has revised its initial demand for a fivefold increase of Seoul’s financial contribution to some $5 billion. But it is known to currently call for about $4 billion, with Seoul insisting on an increase of about 10 percent.

Yonhap