Air Force braces for civilian employee furloughs

July 3, 2013 at 5:09 PM
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PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., July 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Wednesday furloughs of appropriated fund civilian employees, set to begin next week, will "impact DOD operations."

The U.S. Air Force said its civilian employees will have one furlough day without pay each week for 11 weeks beginning Monday and running through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

A furlough of one 8-hour day per week equates to a 20 percent reduction in pay over the furlough period for impacted civilian employees, for those who normally work 40 hours per week.

"I have made this decision very reluctantly, because I know that the furloughs will disrupt lives and impact DOD operations," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in his directive to the services.

The furlough is the result of mandatory budget cuts resulting from Congress' inability to pass legislation to reduce government spending by more than $1 trillion over a 10 year period.

"We've tried to find a balance between meeting the needs of our civilians who will be facing furlough, and the needs of our customers," said Col. Chuck Arnold, 21st Mission Support Group commander at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. "The reality, however, is there will be unavoidable impacts associated with the furlough.

"Every one of my squadrons will be impacted in some manner."

The 21st Space Wing Public Affairs Office said 2,785 civilians received furlough notices at Peterson, including more than 500 from the 21st MSG, which is about 25 percent of group's population on the base.

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