Defense Cuts Furlough Days to 14

Extra flexibility in recently signed spending legislation has allowed the department to scale back its plans.

This story has been updated. 

The Defense Department is reducing the number of furlough days civilian employees will be required to take under the sequester from 22 to 14, the Associated Press reported.

Officials were able to scale back the department’s plans for unpaid leave because the continuing resolution President Obama signed Tuesday shifted $10 billion into the Pentagon’s operations and maintenance accounts. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the decision on Wednesday, AP reported.

Initially, Defense officials had told civilians to prepare for 22 furlough days before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. But the department announced last week it was delaying furlough notices until officials had a chance to analyze the impact of the CR, which was designed to give the Pentagon more leeway in how it handled the across-the-board cuts.

Defense is not taking full advantage of the added flexibility, and "needs to eliminate furloughs entirely,"  the American Federation of Government Employees said in a statement Thursday. "The department's leaders have always had the flexibility to impose budget cuts from sequestration in any way they chose," AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. stated. "Although reducing the number of furlough days from 22 to 14 shows that they're listening, they still haven't gotten the whole message."