Forecast Calls for Rainy Days Ahead

Furloughs of Defense Department civilian employees may commence on April 26, unless Congress acts to end budget sequestration, said Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale on Monday. If the furloughs do take effect, civilian employees would lose pay for a total of 22 days for the remainder of the fiscal year, which equates to one day a week through Sept. 30, he said during a March 11 discussion with DOD employees in the Pentagon. This would amount to a 20 percent pay cut for these employees during that span, he said. DOD notified Congress on Feb. 20 of the potential furloughs and also began bargaining with employee unions on how DOD may implement them, explained Hale. DOD officials are now working to determine by March 15 which civilians would be exempt from the furloughs, he said. Unless the sequester ends, the Pentagon later this month will send letters proposing the furloughs to the non-exempt employees. After a seven-day period for employees to respond to the letters, followed by another 30-day waiting period, the furloughs can start, he said. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone) (See also Better to Prepare.)