Obama To Give Back Pay Too In Support Of Furloughed Workers

Update: Defense secretary Chuck Hagel isn’t the only one returning a portion his salary in solidarity with furloughed civilian workers. President Barack Obama will be doing the same thing.

The New York Times reports:

"President Obama plans to return 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury in solidarity with federal workers who are going to be furloughed as part of the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester, an administration official said Wednesday.

"The voluntary move would be retroactive to March 1 and apply through the rest of the fiscal year, the official said."  

Here’s the Pentagon’s press release about Hagel:

 In solidarity with the Defense Department’s 800,000 civilian employees facing furloughs, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he will voluntarily return part of his salary to the U.S. Treasury, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.

Though furlough-exempt as a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed official, Hagel will commit to partial forfeiture over the 14-week furlough period, Little said at a Pentagon news conference.

Little said he hopes the recent change reducing the projected furloughs from 22 to 14 days brings some relief to the workforce, and he added that employees will remain informed of any further changes.

“We are obliged to give adequate notice to our civilian employees. … This is not something [in which] you get a notice one day and are furloughed the next,” he said. “We understand that we need to take great care with our civilian workforce.”

Little also reported that officials are reviewing analytics to assess the number of civilian employees they expect to have to furlough in the coming weeks.

Categories of exemption, he said, include civilians serving in a war zone, foreign nationals protected by the status of forces of agreement and other categories.

“This has been a troubling time for them and for our uniformed employees too, even though they’re exempt from furlough,” Little said.  

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— Kery Murakami

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