Department of Defense Suspends Civilian Furloughs for Two Weeks

Pentagon wants time to consider budget bill, spokesman says.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Pentagon are delaying scheduled furloughs for two more weeks.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Pentagon are delaying scheduled furloughs for two more weeks.

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Civilians working for the Department of Defense have at least two more weeks without furloughs, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

Pentagon spokesman George Little issued a statement exactly three weeks after the sequestration was initiated on March 1, and a day after the Senate passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year.

[READ: It Looks Like the Government Will Keep on Running]

The Pentagon had warned the mandatory across-the-board cuts could result in furloughs for civilian employees for as many as 22 days before the end of the fiscal year in September, costing the roughly 750,000 civilian employees as much as a 20 percent of their pay during that time.

"The Department has decided to delay the issuance of civilian employee furlough notices for approximately two weeks," Little said. "This delay will allow the Department to carefully analyze the impact of pending Continuing Resolution legislation on the Department's resources."

Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale sent a note to Congress Feb. 20 that the Dept. of Defense intended to furlough workers, which could begin April 26.

[READ: Furloughed Government Agencies Share Anger, Pain and a Rap Song]

The Senate version of the budget bill keeps the $85 billion in sequestration cuts, but allows departments such as Defense to choose where to make the cuts.

"We have not made any decision on whether or not the total number of planned furlough days for Fiscal Year 2013 will change as a result of this delay," Little said. "We believe the delay is a responsible step to take in order to assure our civilian employees that we do not take lightly the prospect of furloughs and the resulting decrease in employee pay."

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