First furlough day for civilian DOD works

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by Carl Leimer, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on July 8, 2013 at 6:07 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 8 at 6:39 PM

PORTSMOUTH - A day without pay, the first of 11 through September, starts today for more than 650,000 people who hold civilian jobs with the Defense Department.

For Tim Gutleben and his wife Laura that means 20% less in their paycheck, or about $600 a month.

"$600, to put it in perspective, is about two and a half truck payments, or one mortgage payment, or about two years worth of gas payments, or about six months of water bills," said Laura.

Because of mandatory budget cuts passed earlier this year, Tim is forced to take one day a week off through the end of September.

"We're trying to figure out what we're shutting off, what we're taking care of, what we're not taking care of," he said.

Military commissaries in Hampton Roads and elsewhere, will also be closed today. Every Monday through September, shopping will be limited to six days a week.

The Pentagon says roughly 85 percent of the department's nearly 900,000 civilians around the world will be furloughed one day each week over the next three months. But while defense officials have been able to shift money around to limit the furloughs this year, thousands of civilian, military and contract jobs could be on the chopping block next year.

Officials worry that the Pentagon will be hit even harder by layoffs in 2014 if automatic budget cuts continue.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to provide more details this week on how the next wave of across-the-board budget cuts will affect the department.

Associated Press contributed to this story.

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