Some 650,000 Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees will take the first of 11 furlough days this week. Between now and the end of September, notified employees will take one furlough day per week. This will amount to a 20 percent pay cut for employees furloughed during the furlough period. DoD officials expect the furloughs to save at least $1.8 billion.

Although each DoD component has flexibility on how it will implement the 11 furlough days, it is expected that many employees will be allowed to take their furlough days on Monday or Friday, thus giving them what has been described as a “forced” three day weekend.

The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), will implement furloughs for its U.S. civilian employees each Monday. As a result, DoD commissaries in the United States will be closed each Monday until September 30, 2013. However, 37 of the 66 overseas commissaries will remain open on Mondays due to international agreements that that exempt local national employees. DeCA advises commissary customers to check to the DeCA home page for further information.

Late last month, DoD issued additional guidance on implementing furloughs. DoD components were told that employees on furlough cannot perform work at the office, at home, or at an alternate site, including using mobile devices. Furloughed workers cannot work longer on non-furloughed days to make up for work lost as a result of a furlough nor can they work overtime to compensate for lost workload. In addition, military personnel cannot be used and contractors cannot be assigned or allowed to perform workload lost during furlough periods.