Monday the first domino falls in a chain of sequestration furlough start dates.
Most government agencies sent out notices to employees in March that would take effect one month later. That process begins April 15, when the majority of the 4,700 Department of Labor employees who received furlough notices start their period of regular hours mixed with forced unpaid time off.
About 150 DOL employees waived the right to a one-month delay between notification and the start of their furloughs, so they have already begun that process.
The next big start date after Monday will be one week later – April 21 – when furloughs kick in for over 65,000 employees at four government agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Agencies are unsure how these furloughs will affect operations, saying only they will focus on mandated missions and operate with a smaller workforce.
The Maryland Federal Public Defenders office offered a preview of what that might look like – especially for smaller offices – last week when their office all but shut down, leaving a voicemail message telling visitors the office was closed due to furloughs and leaving only one employee on duty.
Don’t expect to see those forewarned furloughs of Defense Department civilian employees any time soon. DOD has managed to push back those furloughs to mid-to-late June and cut them down from 22 to 14 days.