Still No Word on Defense Furloughs

May 13, 2013

The Defense Department had not announced a final decision on departmentwide furloughs by late afternoon Monday, as the Navy pushed to exempt shipyard workers from any involuntary unpaid leave.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel continued to reevaluate the number of furlough days necessary for the department’s employees, Defense spokeswoman Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde said on Friday in an email to Government Executive. Hagel has reportedly been pushing Defense officials to find ways to reduce or even eiliminate civilian furloughs.

“At present, all civilian DoD employees, from all services, are subject to being furloughed,” Hull-Ryde said.

Navy officials maintained that the Navy does not need to furlough workers to meet sequestration budget requirements. Service officials previously said that the Navy had the ability to cut its budget by $300 million without furloughing 93 percent of its civilian workforce, which would be required under a uniform Defensewide policy. But the Pentagon prefers a departmentwide approach to furloughs and officials have cautioned that agency-specific policies could have legal repercussions, including appeals and lawsuits.

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