The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week proposed pairing some of its furlough days with federal holidays, joining a growing list of agencies turning unpaid leave into four-day weekends for affected workers.
NOAA acting administrator Kathryn Sullivan informed employees by e-mail on Monday that the agency would close its offices entirely for four nonconsecutive days to absorb its share of the government-wide spending cuts that took effect on March 1.
The furlough-closure days would fall on July 5, July 19, August 5 and August 30, creating four-day breaks during the Independence Day and Labor Day weekends.
NOAA joins the Internal Revenue Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in planning furloughs around federal holidays. Other agencies are considering the same move, according to union officials for the various labor groups that represent federal employees.
The unions are working to negotiate the terms of unpaid leave for agencies that plan to impose furloughs. They want employees to have a say in which days they take off work, as some may need flexibility for child-care purposes or other personal needs.
On Monday, a group of Senate Republicans proposed a bill that would exempt federal workers deemed essential to public safety from sequester furloughs.
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