Sequestration Cuts Have Entered Effect: What Happens Now?


It’s official: On Friday, March 1st, $85 billion in automatic sequestration cuts have taken effect. So what happens next? Rather than a sudden hit to federal payrolls, sequestration will take the better part of the next two months to enter effect, depending on your agency.

Here’s a quick timeline of what you can expect in the coming months.

March 1st: Sequestration Officially Enters Effect

After weeks of rancorous debate, President Obama signed an Executive Order instituting sequestration cuts as required in the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 2011.

March 1st and Beyond:

Agencies will begin issuing furlough notices to workers. Dates of receipt will differ agency by agency. By law agencies must give employees at least 30 days’ notice before implementing a furlough, meaning furloughs could begin as early as March 26th.

March 26th and Beyond:

This is the first day that any federal workers will be required to stay home. Again, this depends on your agency. For example, Defense employees will not be furloughed any earlier than April 22nd. That said thousands of feds will be sent home on furlough throughout late March and early April.

With fewer federal employees in the workplace, the public will begin to feel to squeeze from sequestration as federal services slow and wait times increase.

April 22nd and Beyond:

When an estimated 700,000 Defense employees are placed on furlough one day each week starting after April 22nd, the height of federal workforce furloughs will be reached. These furloughs will continue for 22 weeks until the end of the fiscal year in September.

What Can We Do to Stop the Furloughs?

As our timeline shows, there are still a few weeks remaining to fight the first of these furloughs. There is even more time available to fight the worst of them. We cannot allow this time to go to waste. Federal workers need to make their opinions known to their elected officials in Washington early and often.

Call your elected officials using the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (on your own time, using your own phone), and tell them to reach a deal that avoids these reckless cuts.