Sequestration to force HUD to shut down for 7 days

Tuesday - 3/12/2013, 2:48pm EDT

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will furlough all 9,000 of its employees for seven days between May and August in a bid to reduce costs due to sequestration.

All employees, including career employees, will be furloughed the same number of days, which will effectively result in a shutdown of the department on those days. The proposed furlough dates are May 10 and 24; June 14; July 5 and 22; and August 16 and 30.

The automatic, across-the-board cuts will lop more than $66 million from HUD's 2013 bottom line.

HUD, like all civilian agencies, is required to provide employees notice at least 30 days before enacting furloughs.

A HUD spokesman said the department's furlough plan was explained to employees in a recent town hall meeting. In addition, HUD is operating an internal website to keep employees updated.

"We understand and regret the financial hardship of furloughs on employees and their families," the spokesman said. "We are working to minimize these impacts but, if we can't make this any less painful, it will be shared pain."

Once the furlough days begin, HUD's Chief Human Capital Office will issue letters to employees informing them of the furlough days so employees can explain any income shortfalls on home-mortgage credit evaluations.

In addition to furloughs, the department is also reviewing spending on contracts, equipment, travel and training. When sequestration went into effect March 1, the department imposed an agencywide hiring freeze, according to a memo to employees from Deputy HUD Secretary Maurice Jones.

Since the cuts went into effect earlier this month, a number of agencies have gone public with plans to furlough employees.

Customs and Border Protection, part of the Homeland Security Department, issued furlough notices last week to all 60,000 of its employees warning them they could face as many as 14 furlough days through the end of the fiscal year.

Defense Department officials said recently virtually all of its civilian employees would be furloughed for 22 days beginning at the end of April.

For an agency-by-agency look at sequestration-related furloughs, click here.

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