US military gives South Korean employees one month notice on unpaid leave

South Koreans working for the U.S. military received a one-month notice Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, that they will be put on unpaid leave if the allies do not come to a defense cost-sharing agreement.  KEN SCAR/U.S. ARMY
South Koreans working for the U.S. military received a one-month notice Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, that they will be put on unpaid leave if the allies do not come to a defense cost-sharing agreement. KEN SCAR/U.S. ARMY

US military gives South Korean employees one month notice on unpaid leave

by Kim Gamel
Stars and Stripes

SEOUL, South Korea — The U.S. military gave its South Korean employees a one-month notice Friday that they will be put on unpaid leave if the allies remained deadlocked over a lapsed defense cost-sharing agreement.

The latest warning of an impending furlough comes as South Korean government and American military officials struggle to contain the rapid spread of a dangerous new coronavirus.

The United States has been paying the salaries for some 9,000 local employees with programmed funds after the Special Measures Agreement expired at the end of 2019 as negotiations continued.

But U.S. Forces Korea said that money will run out at the end of next month. The Defense Department has said it will continue to fund “critical” logistics cost-sharing contracts and key positions providing “life, health, safety and readiness services.”

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