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DoD still evaulating whether to furlough employees, Hale says

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Defense Department officials are still deciding whether to furlough more than 700,000 civilian employees, DoD Comptroller Robert Hale said April 18 during a budget briefing.

If Pentagon officials conclude furloughs are necessary as a result of sequestration, unpaid leave will affect military departments in roughly equal measure, Hale said.

"If we have to do this...we all kind of jump in the pond together," he said.

Should furloughs be necessary, civilian employees would begin receiving notices as early as May, and would not to come to work for as many as 2 days per pay period beginning in June and through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. 

"The furloughs, if they occur, are going to damage morale if that hasn't already happened, and seriously damage productivity in virtually every area of the department," Hale said.

Hale's statement came a day after two Maine senators urged in an April 17 letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that furloughs not be imposed uniformally across the civilian workforce.

The Navy, National Guard and the Intelligence Community plan to make their sequestration cuts by without furloughing so shouldn't be required to send their employees on unpaid leave, Sens. Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I) wrote.

"In operations as diverse as ship repairs at Navy public shipyards to the deployment preparation of National Guard units, furloughs could cause more harm than any cost savings reaped from them," Collins and King added.

Meanwhile,the Air Force plans to layoff 1,000 civilians, according to an Air Force statement that says the reductions in force "are not related to the current sequestration actions." Rather, the fiscal 2012 budget required a 16,000 civilian personnel decrease, and a reduction in force of a thousand is necessary to meet that target, the Air Force says. Around 60 Air Force installations will layoff civilians through Aug. 23, the statement says.

For more:
- watch Robert Hale's April 18 budget briefing
- read the letter from Sens. Collins and King
- read the Air Force statement

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