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Mandatory UnPaid Leave Proposed for Feds

Unemployment is high in America so a bill was introduced by Mike Coffman (R-CO) that could allegedly cut $5.5 billion from the federal budget by requiring two weeks of mandatory unpaid leave for federal employees.

H.R. 6134, is a one year measure to reduce federal spending and combat the unsustainable deficit spending in Washington. The bill is also designed to ensure "that federal workers are not sheltered from the realities of life in today’s economy."

What do you think? Is this notion something you would support? [read more]

Views: 100

Tags: 2, budgeting


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Comment by Ginny Ivanoff on February 22, 2011 at 9:02am

Ok, so Congress wants a philosophical feel good quick political win -- nice that we are an easy target, but what makes Congress think that we Feds, as a rule, are not feeling the pain of this economy?  I know of seveal employees whose spouses have lost their jobs and are unable find work.  Since my transfer, I had to deal with the reality that the value of my house left behind in NC fell by about 45%...

Some of our lower grade employees do not a have month's savings set aside (save the comments @ this for another post, for I do wish to discuss that!), and if we face up to a 30 day shutdown, the consequences for these workers will be dire.

Comment by Jerome P. Dion on October 7, 2010 at 10:19am
Ms. Abercrombie underlines the point a lot of people have made -- the bad effects of this economy have not bypassed Federal employees, especially when considering each employees personal circumstances. For Congress to target the Federal workforce for an extra measure of pain is egregious political grandstanding.
Comment by R. Ann Abercrombie on October 7, 2010 at 9:42am
OK, Maybe I'm a bit biased ... I'm one of the "higher grade" feds that does live paycheck to paycheck because my husband has been unemployed for the past 3 years. Not for lack of trying to find a job, he's tried. I think it would be fairly disasterous for my family for me to lose 2 weeks of pay. There has to be a better way
Comment by Doris Tirone on October 6, 2010 at 7:08am
The Pledge to America could mean peril for govies!
Comment by Jerome P. Dion on October 1, 2010 at 8:24am
Maybe Congress should mandate financial company CEO's limit their pay? Oh yeah, been there, tried that, failed.

Perhaps the good Congressman could directly reduce Federal spending by eliminating the unneeded earmarks (aka "Congressionally Directed Spending") that inflate the annual appropriations bills each year - much more than $5.5B in pork there! But, that might hurt them with their campaign contributions!

Unpaid furloughs probably wouldn't hurt higher graded workers very hard, but the lower graded workers - those living paycheck to paycheck - would be hit hard. I know at least one that has gone through foreclosure. On second thought, even higher graded Feds are suffering in this economy with houses underwater, depleted Thrift Savings Plan accounts, and supporting unemployed/underemployed children - delaying retirement and extending by years the need to work. So the whole "share the pain" idea is pretty lame.

The notion that any group of people - save perhaps those with in excess of several million dollars in net worth - aren't being affected by this economy is simply stupid.
Comment by Michael Jacobson on September 30, 2010 at 12:21pm
Here's an alternative view - King County WA last year instituted mandatory 2-week furloughs for workers. Although many of our employees were exempted (jail guards, wastewater treatment plant workers, bus drivers), there were some financial savings (although I think much less than anticipated). More significantly though were the unmeasured and unanticipated benefits of the furloughs. Although our unions generally opposed them and there were many grumblings heard, there were quite a few people that I spoke to who (although they didn't like the salary impact) were in fact quite happy to step off the tread mill of work and have extra days to spend with family or just get out of dodge. Our furlough days were paired with holidays and weekends often giving us 4-day weekends! For those of you in stressful posiitons, or excempt from Fair Labor laws, being told you can't work can be liberating. The differential labor impacts turned out to be a stumbling block in the end and in fact we have not repeated the furlough experience. But I have to say I kind of miss those extra "vacation" days away from the office, politics and the like.
Comment by Margaret Schneider Ross on September 30, 2010 at 8:22am
Anna's right that "sharing the pain" is really more of a symbolic gesture, and that $5.5 Billion won't solve underlying problem. However, let's not pretend that symbols and gestures don't matter. They do.

This bill proposes a 10% pay cut for congress, as well. And I'll admit it: even if it doesn't get us out of the hole we're in, I would love to see Congress "share the pain." We're human, and seeing others be willing to make a sacrifices in order to show support just gives me a little more faith that we're all willing to do what it REALLY will take to get through this.

And Anna, you know I'm right there with you. (Well, except for the health benefits thing). We do need to work smarter. But I can work on that revolution even with 10 furlough days. :)
Comment by jill herndon on September 29, 2010 at 6:40pm
anna - good points.
Comment by jill herndon on September 29, 2010 at 6:33pm
Just re-read the line "sheltered from the realities of life in today's economy" and got mad. Just what vacuum does the author of this bill think we live in? How many of us are supporting our siblings or communities or neighbors instead of living in some consumer spree the author of this bill seems to think is the culture we live in. How many children have moved home or not been able to leave. PFuuum.
Comment by Anna Abbey on September 29, 2010 at 6:02pm
The question shouldn't be about "sharing the pain" or a sense of fairness. Like other organizations, the government should focus on what is best for a sustainable way out of the red. That might involve some things that are equally or more disliked than 2 weeks off without pay, like: firing underperforming workers, lowering pay levels, developing a merit based raise system, re-evaluating the use of contractors (and their subs), decreasing retirement benefits/health benefits/per diem costs/ etc. Of course it will be hard to get any of that through the Unions. Just as any real effective administrative reform will be hard to acomplish so long as the overriding motives are political and shifting from election to election.

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