Most of Great Lakes Naval Station's civilian employees were back to work Monday after being furloughed in the federal government shutdown that started last week.
"When you're gone for four days, the work doesn't stop," said Great Lakes spokesman John Sheppard, who was among those sent home after the shutdown started Oct. 1. "It's a catch-up day for a lot of people."
Great Lakes, which is between North Chicago and Lake Bluff, is the Navy's only boot camp. Most of the 2,500 nonmilitary workers who were furloughed without pay returned to work Monday.
Employees who were furloughed included those at the Great Lakes commissary, museum, library, barracks and public information offices and other places. Military personnel and workers in safety-related jobs, such as base police, were not furloughed without pay.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced over the weekend he was recalling most of his department's civilian workers. Hagel said lawyers from the defense and justice departments found federal law allows the elimination furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus expressed his satisfaction with the Defense Department recall announcement in a statement.
"We are grateful for (Saturday's) decision about our civilian workforce. ... We are still working through the details, but we will bring back as many of our civilians as we can under the new guidance. And we will continue to press to bring back all our civilian family as soon as possible," Mabus said.