Sequestration Sets Up Sept. 18 Defense Deadline

July 31, 2012

The Pentagon would have to notify Congress on Sept. 18 of sequester-induced layoffs of some of the Defense Department’s 764,682 civilian workers, said Frederick E. Vollrath, a Pentagon official responsible for personnel policy.

Sequestration is scheduled to take effect Jan. 2. The timetable for layoff notification is determined by legal requirements triggered by that date.

The notification of Congress must occur 45 days before defense civilians are notified, Vollrath testified July 26 to a House Armed Services subcommittee. Under Office of Personnel Management rules governing reductions in force, civilian employees have to be told 60 days ahead of the layoff. The Pentagon in effect must start the procedure 105 days before layoffs.

The Pentagon’s civilian workforce may have to be cut immediately when the sequester starts on Jan. 2, unlike employees at many defense companies working on contracts from prior years who are not subject to sequester.

The layoff notifications to workers would come about two weeks after the report required by the Sequester Transparency Act on how the administration would implement the $110 billion in budget cuts on Jan. 2, 2013. The bill requiring the report was presented to the president on July 27 and is awaiting his signature.

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