DoD to Labor Leaders: No Furloughs Until April 26th, Some Employees Exempt
On a conference call with labor representatives early Wednesday, DoD Assistant Secretary for Readiness and Force Management Frederick Vollrath revealed new details about the Department’s furlough plans in the event sequestration is allowed to hit March 1st.
According to the most recent estimates, over 85% of the Department’s workforce – 700,000 out of 800,000 employees – will be subject to 22 days of furloughs. On the call, Vollrath explained that furlough notices will be issued to affected employees between April 1st and 25th, and that furloughs would begin no sooner than April 26th.
There are some exemptions to the furloughs, however, leaving 100,000 Defense employees on the job full-time despite the massive cuts. These employees fall into five broad categories:
1. Civilians deployed in combat zones
2. Employees “needed to prevent unacceptable risk or catastrophic gaps in the safety and protection of life or property”
3. Employees funded entirely with non-appropriated funds
4. Employees exempt by law, such as presidential appointees
5. Foreign nationals only if furlough exemptions are required by a status-of-forces agreement
For the remaining 700,000 DoD workers, however, furloughs would become a weekly occurrence. In all, workers will receive a 20% pay cut for the remainder of the year as they will have their hours reduced by two days each pay period. The results will be devastating for federal workers and their families – that is, if Congress allows them to happen.
“Federal employees need to stand up and demand Congress prevent the sequester,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “We are doing everything we can to pressure Congress to do the right thing, but we can’t do it alone. We need every federal employee, their families, and friends to contact Congress as soon as possible and demand they stop the sequester. If we don’t stand up for ourselves, who will?”
Be a part of the solution. Call Congress (on your own time, using your own phone) using the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, and tell them to put an end to the sequester today!