The Army is allowing only limited exceptions to its hiring freeze now underway, while few current employees would escape unpaid furloughs if sequestration hits.

The military services recently announced an immediate hiring freeze and outlined the potential for furloughs and other steps that might be needed if they must absorb automatic cuts of up to around 10 percent in many of their programs starting in early March. The Army is one of the government’s largest employers of federal workers, with about 280,000 civilian employees.

In a memo dated Tuesday, the Army manpower office said that no new “tentative or firm job offers of civilian employment will be extended after the date of this memorandum. Firm job offers extended prior to the date of this memorandum will be honored provided that the individual’s entry-on-duty date was established for a date certain.”

Also, internal recruitment actions limited to current Army employees “may continue with an area of consideration no wider than the local commuting area associated with the position in question.”

Meanwhile, temporary employees are to be terminated and term employees’ appointments will lapse upon the expiration of their current appointments.

Exceptions to the hiring freeze and to the ban on extending those positions can include jobs in theaters of military operations, persons who have placement rights such as those returning from overseas assignments or from injury, and those supporting certain health and counseling programs.

In a separate planning document, the Army said that its commands should plan for unpaid furloughs of up to 22 days through the rest of the year, starting no earlier than about April 16, if sequestration hits.

“If a furlough becomes necessary, it is anticipated that it will be centrally managed to some degree, with few exceptions granted. Commands should await further guidance for specific exceptions and implementation actions,” the memo said.

The furlough days would be “discontinuous” although the memo does not specify a schedule. The Navy previously said it would spread out 22 days of furloughs as one day a week starting around the same date.