Facing Pushback, Some Agencies Begin Reducing Number of Furlough Days

Within the past few weeks, several agencies have decided to postpone furloughs or re-evaluate the length of and need for employee furloughs.

The government spending bill passed by Congress prior to Easter recess gave certain agencies either increased flexibility or funding, or both, to address sequestration induced budget cuts.

The Department of Defense was granted authority to transfer more than $10 billion into the operations and maintenance account that pays civilian salaries. As a result, hundreds of thousands of DoD civilian employees received something of a reprieve from the maximum number of furlough days they were facing. Last week Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that the number of DoD employee furlough days would be reduced from 22 days to 14 days.

Justice Secretary Eric Holder announced that a final decision on furlough days for DoJ employees would be postponed until mid-April. Prior to the passage of the fiscal year 2013 spending bill Holder made an emergency transfer of $150 million to avoid daily furloughs of almost 3,600 correctional officers at federal prisons.

Customs and Border Protection announced Monday this week that it is postponing furloughs for its 60,000 employees and will continue to authorize overtime pay. The agency is “reevaluating” the need for furloughs and the elimination of administratively uncontrollable overtime because of increased funding granted in the 2013 appropriations bill.

Under pressure from the meatpacking industry and the Agriculture Department, 8,400 meat inspectors will avoid furloughs. Those meat inspectors had faced eleven (11) furlough days, yet Congress redirected $55 million to keep them on the job full-time.

For a complete picture of furloughs and sequestration’s effects on agencies across the government, check the resources compiled by Federal News Radio, GovExec, and The Washington Post.


Posted in General News




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