Many federal workers will be required to take unpaid leave as a result of budget sequestration. The $85 billion in budget cuts that took effect in March leave agencies with fewer resources to serve their missions. Even with reductions in travel, training, and supplies, some agencies were not able to cut spending enough to avoid employee furloughs.
At the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most employees will be required to take off four days between 21 April and 15 June. If Congress does not address the sequester or the EPA is unable to cut its budget enough in other ways, employees may have to take furlough days on 5 July and 30 August—both holiday weekends—as well as seven additional days before October. The anticipated savings from furlough days is expected to cover about 20 percent of the $425 million the EPA must cut from its budget this year. The remaining savings will come from reduced spending on grants, travel, and contracts.
The United State Geological Survey told workers to expect no more than 9 furlough days, but the number could be lower if the agency can find additional savings. The agency plans to address the $61 million shortfall under sequestration by freezing hiring, reducing contracts and procurements, eliminating training, and scaling back travel.
Employees at the White House Office of Management and Budget will be required to take 10 furlough days this fiscal year. This works out to one unpaid day each pay period from April to September.
Civilian employees at the Defense Department will be furloughed for 14 days, down from a previous estimate of 22 days.
Other agencies do not plan on forcing workers to take unpaid leave. The National Park Service does not anticipate furloughs unless other cost-savings measures fail. Similarly, the Smithsonian Institution does not plan to furlough employees.
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