The Department of Defense announced Tuesday that the number of civilian furlough days in Fiscal Year 2013, which ends Sept. 30, has been reduced from 11 to 6.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a memo to defense staff that the savings were accomplished thanks to Congress approving a reprogramming request, allowing the department to shift budgeted funds across accounts. Hagel also said more funds would be available for training and other military programs.
Many civilian defense employees are expected to have taken six furlough days by Aug. 17, in which case those employees wouldn’t need to take any additional furlough days.
The Pentagon’s budget is still on thin ice, however, because Congress still must pass a FY2014 budget. Currently, sequestration is slated to cut the FY2014 DoD budget by $52 billion, 44 percent more than FY2013.
“You can’t understate the impact these furloughs, originally set to eliminate an entire months paycheck, are having on the morale of our federal workforce,” Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said in a statement. “Thankfully, by virtue of this decision, DoD employees and their families now face a little less hardship. Congress must step up and deal with these budget issues in a responsible manner, so that sequestration ends and we stop furloughing our federal workforce.”