New Legislation Calls for Mandatory Two-Week Furloughs for Federal Employees


Second-term Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) yesterday introduced legislation to impose two weeks of mandatory leave on the federal workforce. Starting in 2012, Coffman’s proposal would impact all federal employees, with the exception of those working in national-security, health, or law enforcement-related positions. Were the bill to become law, covered federal workers would be forced to take leave without pay for two weeks per year.

“Federal employees were already struggling when Congress imposed a freeze on their pay,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “Mandating two weeks of leave without pay on top of that could be the difference between scraping by, and financial ruin, for some families.”

Also included in the bill is a provision to reduce the pay of members of Congress by 10%, which, if passed, would be the first Congressional pay cut in over 75 years. Though this gesture may give the appearance of good faith, the true impact of this cut will be minimal. In fact, rank-and-file members of Congress will still make $156,000 per year after a 10% reduction. Just for perspective, that is more than the nation’s highest paid GS 15 Step 10. Compared to the burden carried by America’s civil servants, who have already seen their pay frozen this year, this reduction is disingenuous at best.

In September of last year, Coffman introduced a similar bill which quickly died in the then-Democratically controlled House of Representatives. Now, with Republican lawmakers in the majority, there’s a much greater chance of this legislation becoming law.

Making matters worse, this bill is just the latest in an onslaught of anti-federal worker proposals emanating from Washington recently. Last week alone, Republican members of Congress introduced bills to abolish union official time, extend the two year pay freeze to three years, and eliminate 200,000 federal jobs.

“It is abundantly clear that the new majority in Congress is targeting federal employees,” said NFFE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “It is critical that every NFFE Local do their part to weigh in with their lawmakers opposing these attacks. Lawmakers will continue to make one cut after another to federal employees until there is nothing left to cut. Feds are being targeted – now is the time to get mad about it.”