Defense Official: Civilian Furloughs Likely to be Reduced by Upwards of Five Days


Speaking on condition of anonymity with the Associated Press yesterday, a Department of Defense official hinted the department may be reducing furlough days by as many as five in the coming weeks.

According to the official, DoD is looking to trim between three and five days from the current 11 day total. This means the department would have to find $500-$900 million elsewhere in the budget to trim costs. Whether the reduction ends up at three or five days, any decrease in furlough days at this point is a step in the right direction for cash strapped employees. With eight of eleven furlough days remaining for over 650,000 Defense employees, the change would save these workers hundreds (some thousands) in lost wages.

“This is definitely a step in the right direction but we’re not there yet,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “We need to hold Defense and our elected leaders accountable for making sure these employees are at work every day accomplishing the mission, not sitting at home on unpaid furloughs.”

The furlough reduction plan comes after weeks of withering pressure from NFFE-IAM members as well as other Defense workers and their unions. NFFE and the Federal Workers Alliance led a national campaign that resulted in 6,400 letters reaching more than 400 Congressional offices demanding an end to furloughs. Lobbying efforts to blunt future furloughs have also been successful as the House passed an amendment banning them through FY 2014. With momentum working in our favor, the time to end the furloughs for good starts now.

“Now is the time to turn up the pressure on the Administration and Congress,” said NFFE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “When the Pentagon makes there decision on reduced furloughs – expected in a few days – it will likely be a final decision for this year. Here’s the bottom line: If you want to have an impact on your furlough situation this year, the time to speak up about it is now. Let them know how furloughs are negatively impacting you and your family, and ask them to end these senseless furloughs once and for all.”

Call your members of Congress using the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and do your part to end furloughs. When calling, please be sure to do as on your own time, using your own phone, as a constituent.