Defense Department civilians on Tuesday began to receive furlough notices informing them of mandatory unpaid days off beginning in early July and running through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.
The notices will be followed by a seven-day response period, during which employees can reply to officials regarding the proposed furloughs. A Defense spokeswoman told Government Executive that the notices were hand-delivered by supervisors “to the greatest extent possible,” but that mail and email would be used as possible options as well. She said furlough notices would be delivered to employees through June 5.
Originally, Defense civilians were expecting to take 22 furlough days through the end of fiscal 2013, but that number was cut to 14 following the signing of the stopgap government-funding act. In mid-May, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that that the number of furlough days would be cut again to 11, and that furloughs would begin on July 8.
Limited furlough exceptions are currently being granted to civilians in combat zones, public health and safety personnel, shipyard workers and personnel funded through the National Intelligence Program.
The reaction to the proposed furloughs has been varied. Local news sources have been reporting the impact of furloughs on local military installations, like Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. The planned closure of Defense commissaries and Department of Defense Education Activity schools has been especially well covered. Some Defense employees on Tuesday afternoon began to take their frustrations on the planned furloughs to social media.