DoD cuts furloughs to 14 days

Filed under: Aerospace/Defense,Daily News |

calendarThe good news: Department of Defense civilian employees will have fewer days off than first thought under sequestration.

More good news: Those furloughs will be delayed until mid-to-late June, instead of early in May

The bad news: They’ll still face 14 unpaid days of leave during the rest of the budget year, which ends Sept. 30.

The DoD reduced the number of days that its thousands of civilian employees could be furloughed this year, thanks to more money in the continuing resolution budget agreement passed last week.

Furloughs would happen over seven two-week pay periods until the end of September, when the current fiscal year ends, according to the Defense Department website, with employees likely to be told not to come to work for two days during each of those pay periods.

Department officials say they are still working to determine which employees might be exempted.

Secretary of Defense Chuch Hagel characterized the reduced furloughs, as well as a revised estimate of sequestration’s impact on the defense budget, as good news. The changes follow Congressional approval last week of a defense appropriations bill that prevented an additional $6 billion in cuts, ordered under sequestration, from taking effect.

“It reduces a shortfall at least in the operations budget,” the secretary told reporters at a Pentagon news conference. “We came out better than we went in under the sequester, where it looks like our number is $41 billion [in cuts] now versus the $46 billion.”

Hagel said the Pentagon is still going to be short at least $22 billion for operations and maintenance, “and that means we are going to have to prioritize and make some cuts and do what we’ve got to do,” including making sharp reductions in base operating support and training for non-deployed units.