Pentagon says no decision on more furlough reductions

(AFP/Getty Images)
(AFP/Getty Images)

A Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday that “no decisions have been made at this time” about a possible reduction in furloughs for civilian defense workers, despite an Associated Press report that said employees would likely face fewer days of unpaid leave.

The Defense Department last stated that it planned to furlough more than 640,000 civilian workers for 11 days between July 8 and the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Most of the workers have already taken four unpaid days.

Defense officials have said they believe the Pentagon will be able to reduce the total number of furlough days to six as a result of penny-pinching and Congress’s decision to give it more flexibility in shifting funds between accounts, according to the AP report.

The unpaid leave comes as part of the Defense Department’s efforts to trim costs under the automatic spending cuts that took effect for nearly all areas of government in March.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans to implement 11 furlough days during a town hall meeting in May. The Pentagon had previously anticipated 22 days.

Hagel said during the meeting that the department would look for ways to further reduce the furloughs, but he made no promises about the outcome. “We’ll continue to look at it, [and] we’ll continue to do everything we can,” he said.

To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed, friend his Facebook page or e-mail josh.hicks@washpost.comFor more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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