Federal Employees on Edge with Furloughs Officially Underway


First it was years, then it was months, then weeks; but now, the furloughs have finally arrived and workers are starting to feel the long-anticipated financial pinch.

This week thousands of federal employees at the Department of Labor began the first of up to eight days of unpaid furlough days between now and the end of the fiscal year. According to a recent piece in Government Executive, over 4700 DOL employees are scheduled to take between two and eight unpaid furlough days. Next week, workers at the Federal Aviation Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and Office of Management and Budget will begin the first of up to 10 furlough days by year’s end.

For the federal workforce as a whole, this is just the beginning. The largest agency to furlough workers, the Department of Defense, expects to furlough as many as 700,000 employees for 14 days starting in June. In total, some estimates suggest over a million federal employees will be impacted by furloughs.

So many days of unpaid leave will have untold consequences for these workers, their families, and the communities in which they live.

“Politicians in Washington need to wake up to the reality of just how devastating furloughs can be to federal families,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “They have had nearly two years to avoid sequestration, yet they’ve done next to nothing to stop it. How many federal employees need to miss their mortgage, car, or tuition payments before they roll their sleeves up and do something about it?”

Added Dougan:

“These employees want to work, but the government won’t allow them to. Meanwhile Congress is being paid to sit on its hands. There’s something deeply wrong with that scenario and we will not stand for it.”