CBP postpones 60,000 furloughs, overtime cuts

Monday - 4/1/2013, 7:40pm EDT

In a reversal of course, U.S. Customs and Border Protection now says it is postponing employee furloughs and will continue to authorize overtime pay.

The agency said it is "reevaluating" both the planned furloughs of its 60,000 employees and the elimination of administratively uncontrollable overtime, or AUO, because of new funding granted in the 2013 appropriations bill Congress passed last month.

"Although the budget reductions imposed by sequestration are significant, the bill's provisions allow CBP to mitigate to some degree the impacts of the reduced budget on operations and on CBP's workforce," a CBP statement read. "CBP continues to assess the exact impact the legislation will have on our operations and our workforce."

Faced with a $754 million shortfall due to the across-the-board sequestration cuts, the agency last month announced it would furlough nearly all of its workforce for about 14 days. CBP also announced it would deauthorize the use of overtime.

Union officials said the combination of furloughs and overtime reductions would amount to a 40 percent cut to border patrol agents' salaries.

CBP is not the first agency to reverse course on furloughs. The Defense Department last week sharply reduced the number of days it expected to furlough its civilian workforce — from 22 to 14 — and pushed back the implementation date.

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