Furlough for Government Employees

blackdiamondblackdiamond Posts: 2,314Member, Beta Tester
edited February 2013 in Personal Finance
As a government employee I am getting a lot of information about possible impacts from the financial mess that is going on. There is a possibility that we could be put on furlough one day a week for 22 weeks. That is a 20% pay cut for 11 pay periods. Ouch!

As long as my wife is back to work we should be able to handle it ok, but it got me thinking how many workers will be in real trouble. How would it impact you?
Post edited by Unknown User on

Comments

  • bradbrad Posts: 3,286Member
    I work on U.S. federal government contracts, and last year when it looked like the government would be shut down we were told that we'd have to use up our vacation and sick time during a shutdown, and if the shutdown continued after that we'd have to go on leave without pay. With the budget cuts it's possible that some of my contracts will dry up and some of us will lose our jobs. I've already had my vacation and sick time cut in half (I lost 10 days), although that was mainly a cost-competitiveness move.

    It's funny how people tend to have these wildly inaccurate stereotypes of government employees as lazy workers with great perks and no pressure; I've been a government contractor for 17 years now, and I'm consistently impressed at the dedication and sacrifices that my clients make: I often work nights and weekends, and my clients are almost always working then too, responding to emails and phone calls. I've spent time in international negotiations where people worked 36 hours straight. And when I go to my clients' offices and see the conditions they work under it's humbling: entire agency programs run out of one cubicle, ancient computers with tiny monitors, etc. Of course there are always a few people who fit the stereotype, spending their days twiddling their thumbs or reading novels, but I think I've encountered only one of them in the last 17 years.

    Good luck -- I hope you don't end up having to go on furlough!
  • blackdiamondblackdiamond Posts: 2,314Member, Beta Tester
    There are too many worthless people to be sure, but there are also a lot of hard working people trying to make up the difference.

    We are entering into a very busy period where overtime should become the norm, it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. My prediction is that we will be forced to not work overtime, will then get behind, the budget will get fixed, and we will blow the new budget working overtime to catch up because nobody will remember the reason for being behind and schedules won't shift. It is the way we do things.

    We manage the future based on reports of the past so we are always reacting rather than planning. How about YNAB for managing life?
  • FurloughedFurloughed Posts: 1Member
    Government employee's that work where I work have just been told they are going to be furloghed for 1 day each week from April 20th until September 20th for 2013. They were told to plan their day off with other employees of their division so the work would continue, and identify a military counterpart in the event more days are needed to meet the current budget shortfalls.....
  • C_AndersonC_Anderson Posts: 190Member
    edited February 2013
    My husband works for the government. In 2012, he was on a project that required 72-hour work weeks for about eight months of the year. I hated not seeing him, and he hated being away from our family so much--especially since we had our first baby in June. However, we definitely appreciated the extra income.

    We were sent to Japan at the beginning of 2012, and will be here for about four months. In years past, my husband has worked 48-60 hours most weeks, and sometimes up to 70 hours. This year, the project keeps requesting approval for overtime (8 hours on Saturday), and it keeps getting denied.

    We are unaccustomed to regular, 40-hour/week paychecks, and since things are changing, it is forcing us to take a hard look at our budget. This is even more necessary in light of the pending 22 furlough days. That's an entire month's salary, even if it is spread out over the course of 22 weeks.

    We are so thankful that we are already debt-free, have a full buffer, and a partial emergency fund. Our goal is to stash away enough for six months' expenses.

    In light of all the changes, though, I reorganized the YNAB budget so it's easier for my husband to see and understand. We have the following master categories: God & 4 Walls (tithe, mortgage, electricity, water, trash), Recurring Bills (internet, insurance payments, car tags, etc.), Other Necessities (groceries, pet food), and Below the Line (gifts, fun money, date money, vacation, clothes, other rainy day categories, etc.--the things that are more flexible and can be skipped if necessary). Now, when the paychecks come in, we just see how far down the list we can get. If it doesn't stretch enough to cover "everything" on our budget, we can easily see together which categories are more flexible. I love how easy it is to reorganize things in YNAB when your circumstances change and you want to see things from a different perspective!
    Post edited by C_Anderson on
  • BethBBethB Posts: 10Member
    We have the following master categories: God & 4 Walls (tithe, mortgage, electricity, water, trash), Recurring Bills (internet, insurance payments, car tags, etc.), Other Necessities (groceries, pet food), and Below the Line (gifts, fun money, date money, vacation, clothes, other rainy day categories, etc.--the things that are more flexible and can be skipped if necessary). Now, when the paychecks come in, we just see how far down the list we can get.

    I love the way you have your categories set up. I think I might just copy you!
  • blackdiamondblackdiamond Posts: 2,314Member, Beta Tester
    I am also anticipating a furlough, but we have not been officially notified yet.

    The smart plan for people is to save their third paycheck in March and use it to make up the loss. If people can cut expenses by 10% the extra paycheck should cover 10 pay periods in 10% increments.

    This is where people that budget their yearly income divided by twelve will be at a disadvantage because they don't plan for extra pay checks twice a year.

    I have enough in saving to be ok, but it is going to really hurt a lot of people.
  • timrwtimrw Posts: 125Member, Moderator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester
    I am also anticipating a furlough, but we have not been officially notified yet.

    The smart plan for people is to save their third paycheck in March and use it to make up the loss. If people can cut expenses by 10% the extra paycheck should cover 10 pay periods in 10% increments.

    We're in the same boat - we've received no specific guidance thus far from our corner of DoD. We might be able to avoid it due to how we're funded, but I figure it's more prudent to plan for it and be surprised. I was much more comfortable about the whole thing when I realized they'd probably start in April and March was a three-paycheck month. If it does happen, then that paycheck gets added to the emergency fund and we bring our spending in line with the income and dip in only if we need to. That the emergency fund is there at all will help it be aggravating and annoying, but not devastating to our family finances, which helps a little too. This has served as a good reminder why setting up specific budgets (rather than general plans) based on a forecasted income is wrought with pitfalls!
  • SierramoonSierramoon Posts: 1Member
    I'm also a government employee facing furlough. I didn't even think about the extra paycheck in March! Thanks for the reminder. I've already remade my spending plans with the 20% reduction. Unfortunately, my sinking funds for Christmas and my kids birthday parties are going to be severely underfunded when it's time to use those funds. :|
  • timrwtimrw Posts: 125Member, Moderator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester
    timrw wrote:

    We might be able to avoid it due to how we're funded

    Hooray! Turns out that we can't, so if this goes down I hope I get furloughed on a Monday or Friday.
  • Bills2paynowBills2paynow Posts: 42Member
    i was furloughed for one year in 2009. We had the option of 5% for 2 years or 10% for 1 year.We chose 10% for one year. It wasn't too bad but i hate that I had to pay for my employers inability to manage their funds. I'm more upset that they have found a way to permanently reduce our wages by transferring their 11% contribution to our retirement to us. If i had accepted this job offer based on this condition I wouldn't complain but it seems that they are allowed to change the conditions based on their mistakes and the employees have to sit and take it. Now they are talking voluntary furloughs again which preceded the mandatory ones. Arghhhhhhhhhh!!! Anyway, I wish i had YNAB then and I wish I was budget minded then because I would be better off now-woulda coulda shoulda LOL....but at least I am now.
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