WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 (UPI) — The Pentagon said it is preparing to notify Congress it plans to impose furloughs on civilian U.S. defense workers because of impending budget cuts.
The department will notify Congress Wednesday it plans to furlough almost 800,000 employees one day a week beginning in April, unless Congress finds a way to avoid across-the-board domestic and defense spending cuts scheduled to take effect March 1, Stars and Stripes reported Tuesday.
Federal law requires the department to notify Congress at least 45 days in advance of such furloughs, and regulations require that affected workers be notified at least 30 days in advance, the report said.
Defense officials estimated civilian workers would be furloughed for a total of 22 days beginning April 1 and running through the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30, the report said.
Military troops would not be affected immediately. Political appointees and defense workers whose incomes are not appropriated by Congress would also be spared, Stars and Stripes said.
Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the Defense Department is not planning for furloughed civilian workers to recoup lost pay, as has been the practice in past government shutdowns.
Furloughed workers may not be able to draw unemployment because of the way the furloughs are being implemented. The Pentagon would be responsible for paying unemployment benefits, which would force the department to make other cuts to cover that spending.
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