The automatic budget cuts set to hit every level of the federal government will bring a shortened workweek and a smaller paycheck for the majority of the defence Department’s civilian workers, according to a report from Fox News.About 800,000 DoD civilian employees will see one less day of work per week, along with a pay cut of 20 per cent from late April through September if Congress fails to stop $46 billion in across-the-board defence budget cuts set to take effect March 1.
The pay cut comes on top of over two years of frozen wages due to a civilian pay freeze initiated in Dec. 2010.
While working for the federal government has plenty of benefits, the pay scale varies with top earners making almost $130,000 annually, and bottom earners making just above $17,000. Civilian workers work alongside military personnel worldwide, in base shopping facilities, schools, day cares, and make up 40 per cent of staff in base hospitals and clinics.
“An employee in the middle of the pay scale, earning about $50,000 a year, takes home between $500 and $600 a week after subtracting health insurance, retirement and taxes,” J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a press release. “Taking away one day’s pay every week could mean the difference between covering the mortgage and putting food on the table.”
Communities nationwide will also see dire economic consequences from the cuts, according to military leaders. Hardest hit would be Texas, Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania. In just those four states, the Army estimates an impact on 95,685 jobs, according to the Military Times.
“While civilians will experience the impact directly to their wallets, our service members, retirees and families will clearly feel the effect of these actions,” said Jessica Lynn Wright, acting under secretary of defence for personnel and readiness. “If sequestration is not averted, the associated furloughs will impact our war fighters, our veterans and our family members in untold ways.”
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