Fort Gordon to take most furloughs on Fridays

Starting July 8, most Fort Gordon organizations will close on Fridays to compensate for 11 weeks of civilian furloughs, officials said Wednesday.


The announcement came as Fort Gordon supervisors began delivering furlough notices, setting in motion a chain of actions that will result in nearly 3,100 civilian workers losing 88 hours of pay each by the end of the fiscal year.

Though the unpaid leave could equate to a 20 percent pay cut for some, all civilian employees on Fort Gordon will continue to accrue sick leave, collect retirement and receive health insurance, public affairs officer J.C. Mathews said.

Mathews said local commanders plan to hold regular town hall meetings in June to prepare civilians for the furloughs, which are expected to have a minimal impact on Fort Gordon training and security operations.

The furloughs – scheduled to start July 8 or later – are part of the Pentagon’s efforts to make up $37 billion in cuts from sequestration that kicked in March 1 and cut $20 billion in the operations and maintenance accounts that fund civilian employees. The furloughs are expected to save the U.S. Defense Department $1.8 billion.

At Fort Gordon, most organizations have decided to close their operations on Fridays. Mathews said organizations that cannot close on Fridays will stagger furlough days throughout the work week.

“This provides predictability for customers seeking services during the furlough,” Mathews said.

Signal Center training will be largely unaffected by furloughs because the majority of instructors
are military personnel or contractors.

Mathews said the post will use temporary guards and uniformed officers to maintain security at the gates while civilian personnel are away.

Mathews said delivery of furlough letters started Tuesday and will continue through June 5.

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Assistance options for workers include:

• The Employee Assistance Program, a voluntary program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals and follow-up services to employees who have personal or work-related problems.

• Army Community Service, which provides advocacy and prevention services; it can also assist with information and referral, outreach, financial planning, employment and other services that can support the civilian workforce.

• Federal employee Thrift Savings Plan account, which offers several options to those experiencing financial hardship; among them are financial hardship in-service withdrawals, loans and loans while in a nonpay status.