Five percent of federal workforce furloughed Friday as agencies shut down

This Friday, roughly 117,000 federal employees will be on leave without pay in the first major round of sequester-driven furloughs. This amounts to more than 5 percent of the entire federal workforce.

The IRS, EPA, OMB, and HUD— which have a combined staff of about 116,600 — closed down entirely last Friday to help meet their mandated budget cuts.

All IRS offices, including its call centers and taxpayer assistance centers across the country, will be closed. The IRS will also shut down and furlough employees June 14, July 5, July 22 and Aug. 30.

The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents IRS employees, denounced the furloughs. IRS employees, like all other federal workers, are currently in the third year of a pay freeze and will be hurt even more by being forced to take an unpaid day off, NTEU said.

“This is a very unfortunate state,” NTEU President Colleen Kelley said. “Losing 10 percent of your pay in a single pay period is no small matter, especially when you face the same rising prices for necessities that are affecting your friends, neighbors and community.”

The IRS said in a May 15 release that it may announce one or two additional furlough days, if the current furloughs do not save enough money.

 

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