Federal budget cuts have hit home for Luke Air Force Base as hundreds of civilian employees will face furloughs beginning next month.
Starting July 8, approximately 702 employees at Luke will be furloughed two days per pay period, for a total of 11 days through the end of September. This unpaid time off will cut employee pay by 20 percent for the duration of the furlough.
Some civilians will be exempt from the furlough. They include all foreign military sales employees, nonappropriated funds employees and 16 Child Development Center direct care workers. First responders are not exempted, but Luke’s mutual aid partnership with the local community allows for support in that area.
The Defense Department announced it would impose this measure in order to mitigate a $1.8 billion shortfall, which is necessitated by federal budget sequestration.
“At Luke, we are looking at a potential $3 million cost savings in our civilian pay budget based on the number of days that we have right now and the number of people that will be effected,” said Col. Nathan Mooney, 56th Mission Support Group commander.
Those employees who are impacted will work with their supervisors to determine a suitable schedule, said Bryan Evans, 56th Force Support Squadron civilian personnel officer.
“For work schedules, our priority is two-fold. We want to make sure we schedule furlough days in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the overall mission,” Mooney said. “We also want to ensure to the maximum extent possible that our civilian employees have a work schedule during this furlough that minimizes the impact on their work and family life.
“It’s unfortunate we have had to come to this point but we are doing, and will continue to do, everything we can to help our civilian workforce through this difficult situation,” Mooney said. “Here on Luke, we have a number of comprehensive programs within our 56th Force Support Squadron to help our Luke workforce get the information and assistance they may need regarding issues such as finances, family support and wellness.”
The Luke AFB Airman and Family Readiness Center offers financial counseling along with employment assistance services for those who are considering seeking additional employment opportunities.
Additionally, the CDC is offering parents the opportunity to submit an exemption for consideration to have their fees reduced for child care.
“This is without question a difficult time for our civilian workforce” Mooney said. “Though we have had to implement this furlough, I hope our civilian workforce knows and fully understands how grateful we are for their continued dedicated service as we work through this tough time in our nation’s history.”