All Internal Revenue Service employees will be notified Monday of five scheduled furlough days, beginning May 24, according to the head of the largest employees union at the IRS.
Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said on Friday that “implementation of any furlough days is a disappointing development. Furloughing IRS employees is further evidence of the ongoing damage sequestration is causing across the country.”
The furloughs are scheduled for May 24, June 14, July 5, July 22, and Aug. 30, with an additional two still a possibility. The NTEU stressed that its negotiators continue to work to soften the impact of furloughs, which by law require 30 days’ advance notice.
The furlough days are scheduled for after the IRS’s peak period of tax filing season, though Kelley pointed out that “considerable tax-filing” goes on throughout the year, including submissions by small businesses, quarterly payments, businesses operating on a fiscal-year basis, estates and government entities. “On these days, phones calls to the IRS will go unanswered and Taxpayer Assistance Centers across the country will have ‘closed’ signs in their windows,” Kelley said. “I believe this is an unprecedented event that leaves taxpayers out in the cold.”
NTEU has joined other organizations, lawmakers and commentators in calling for an end to sequestration. “Like all federal employees, those at the IRS are well into the third year of a pay freeze,” Kelley said, “and now they face the unwelcome prospect of a pay cut resulting from unpaid furlough days.”