Pentagon delays civilian furloughs

The Pentagon is delaying its furlough notices to civilian employees by two weeks after Congress passed a government funding measure giving the Defense Department more flexibility in its budget.

The Defense Department had been planning to furlough most of its nearly 700,000 civilian employee for up to 22 days before September in order to deal with budget reductions.

But the continuing resolution (CR) that Congress sent to President Obama on Thursday provides the Pentagon with an additional $10 billion in its operations and maintenance accounts, which includes civilian personnel costs.

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Pentagon press secretary George Little said that the delay will allow the Pentagon to analyze the CR, and said no decisions have been made about whether the number of furlough days in fiscal 2013 will be changed.

“We believe the delay is a responsible step to take in order to assure our civilian employees that we do not take lightly the prospect of furloughs and the resulting decrease in employee pay," Little said.

DOD spokeswoman Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde said that furlough notices are not expected to be sent to civilians until April 5, although that date has not been finalized.

While the continuing resolution included a full-year Defense appropriations bill — which allowed for the transfer of funds — the Pentagon is still facing across-the-board cuts under sequestration. The DOD must cut roughly $46 billion in fiscal 2013.