Employees at the Environmental Protection Agency finally have definitive word on the number of furlough days they will be forced to take under the budget cuts known as sequestration.
Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe has notified the agency’s 17,000 employees that no more than 79 hours of unpaid pay will be required before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 — the equivalent of just under 10 working days.
In a recent memo, Perciasepe said the agency’s “careful fiscal approach” to saving money to minimize furlough days has paid off: “While I do not want to in any way diminish the significant impact the sequestration is having on everyone, I do want to report that the number of furlough hours can be reduced.”
Days after the sequester took effect March 1, the agency told employees that 13 furlough days were possible to help meet EPA’s share of the $85 billion in cuts across the government. In early April, employees received another notice that said four unpaid days would be mandatory this spring, but left open how many others were on the table.
The first 32 hours still must be taken between this week and June 15. At that time, budget officials will “revisit our budget” to reevaluate whether fewer days will be required during the summer and fall, the memo said.