Military Services Start to Outline Furlough Exemptions

Army surgeons are likely to be immune from furloughs. Army surgeons are likely to be immune from furloughs. Defense Department file photo

Army civilians working in fire, safety and health positions will be exempt from upcoming furloughs, along with political appointees, a spokesman told Government Executive on Thursday.

Army spokesman George Wright Jr. told Government Executive that details of mandatory unpaid leave under sequestration had yet to be announced, but that service officials expected guidance “within the next week.” He said even with the exemptions, the furloughs would be “wide-ranging.”

Civilian employees at the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, and the Army Corps of Engineers in Walla Walla, Wash., already received furlough notices at the end of February, CNN reported.

The other military services are also outlining limited exemptions to civilian employee furloughs. A spokeswoman for the Air Force told Government Executive that civilians deployed to combat zones and local nationals were immune from furloughs. She said that Air Force civilian police, security guards and firefighters are subject to furloughs “except at installations where the manning level is under 25 percent.” She also said medical staff would face furloughs, except those providing 24-hour emergency services.

A spokeswoman for the Navy pointed to a document dated March 13, which told employees that political appointees would be exempt from the furlough, along with Foreign Military Sales employees whose salary is paid through program trust funds, civilians currently at sea, and medical staff providing round–the-clock inpatient care and emergency service.

Pentagon officials will complete their review of potential furlough exemptions on March 15, Defense Comptroller Robert Hale said earlier this week, after which furlough notices will be distributed. Furloughs could begin as soon as April 26, he said.

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