Most civilian defense employees would face shortened work week if cuts take effect

WASHINGTON (AP) — If automatic spending cuts take effect on the first of March, the "vast majority" of the Defense Department's 800,000 civilian workers will be affected.

That's according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who says he may have to shorten the work week for most of those workers. They'd lose a day of work per week -- or 20 percent of their pay -- for up to 22 weeks, probably starting in late April.

In a written message to employees today, Panetta said he had told Congress that if there's no deal to avoid the furloughs, all affected workers will get at least 30 days' advance notice.

The Pentagon's budget chief, Robert Hale, set out today to dispel the notion that this would mainly be a problem for the nation's capital. Hale told reporters that the economic impact would be felt nationwide. According to figures provided by the Pentagon, the biggest potential losses -- in terms of civilian payroll dollars -- would be in Virginia, California, Maryland, Texas and Georgia.

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210-w-31-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent with Pentagon comptroller Robert Hale)--The Defense Department says it will probably have to put the vast majority of its civilian workers on unpaid leave if there's no deal to avoid budget cuts by March first. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the Pentagon. (20 Feb 2013)

<<CUT *210 (02/20/13)>> 00:31

211-c-14-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent)-"Texas and Georgia"-AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports the Pentagon says the furlough effects could be felt nationwide, not just around Washington. (20 Feb 2013)

<<CUT *211 (02/20/13)>> 00:14 "Texas and Georgia"

201-a-05-(Under Secretary of Defense Robert Hale, Pentagon comptroller, at news conference)-"to do it"-Pentagon comptroller Robert Hale says the Defense Department has very few options if the sequestration cuts kick in. (20 Feb 2013)

<<CUT *201 (02/20/13)>> 00:05 "to do it"

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