The prospect of widepsread furloughs—or forced unpaid leave—for federal workers raised a massive outcry in the period leading up to the sequester. The first notice of the imminent furloughs went out to workers this week.
The Department of the Army has begun to send letters to unions all over the nation explaining that employees must stay home without pay one day per week from April 22 to September 21, 2013. The cost to workers? A 20% pay cut for those five months.
Employees do not get to choose the days—which will be either Mondays or Fridays—and they are unable to use paid sick or vacation days on days when they are furloughed.
The Department of Defense is expected to be the hardest hit by furloughs, with many of its 800,000 civilian workers giving up 22 paid workdays.
“Those who think the sequestration debate is just another game of Washington brinksmanship are sadly mistaken,” William R. Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, told CNN Money. “This is not a game. Real people will be hurt, people whose only role in this debate was choosing to serve their country.”