Feds on Furlough: More Work or Extended Vacation?

If the political push comes to shove would you rather be furloughed for 10 days next year, or get paid to work all 10 federal holidays? And if furloughed would you want it all at one time, as in a 2-week unpaid vacation?

Two of the money-saving items the post-election Congress may consider are a federal pay freeze and the proposal to furlough feds (without pay) for two weeks in 2011.

Earlier this week, we asked folks to comment. And they did. Good stuff as usual.

So would you be willing to bite the bullet, or do you consider holidays an entitlement. And what about all that time off members of Congress take? Let ‘er rip!

  • “Thankfully, in the real world, we can negotiate a reasonable compromise. I would be willing to give up 6 holidays ie: MLK Birthday, President’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, & Columbus Day, and (if need be) take the rest in furlough. I could use annual if I wanted any of those 6 off. I think we have to stop looking at holidays as entitlements. I would keep 4th of July, New Year’s Day, Christmas & Thanksgiving. Those are the big ones.” John B. of the IRS
  • “Regarding furloughs. Not everyone has felt the ‘pain,’ so why should we? When so many professionals ridiculed the idea of working for ‘peanuts’ in the public sector, why now do they clamor for us to feel the pain? Do we get that money back when boom times return? And how about those of us who have spouses in the private sector who have felt the pain with them being laid off (my situation with my wife out of work for nearly two years). Are we required to feel double the pain? And when does it stop? When unemployment is below 9%, 8%, 7%! This is yet another example of a dysfunctional congress that refuses to tackle the real issues facing this country in a way that benefits the greatest good.” Dana of the IRS
  • “Regarding your column on Feds taking 10 furlough days or working 10 holidays. Although a significantly smaller payroll, why not ask Congress the same question? They take a heck of a lot more holidays than we Feds get. And make more money. And have staffs that support them. Do they want to furlough any of their staff members?

    “And IMHO, if some of these well-meaning but poorly-led Congressional staffers would stop sending Federal agencies so many inane and silly letters from constituents, we would have more time to get to our legitimate work that needs to be done.” Rob, US Army Corps of Engineers

  • “I offer a 4th solution…. How about the Congress furlough itself, put in term limits (so their salaries never get too high to begin with), or take a permanent paycut to fix the problem FIRST. Let’s face it, the Members of Congress make a lot of money for not passing budgets on time (can you say umpteenth Continuing Resolution?) and taking off to run for office all the time. The fighting and bickering is also being done on our dime. (Yes, we feds pay taxes too).

    “The problem with making Feds work on holidays is that we won’t be able to go out and stimulate the economy like we do when we are off and can shop while everyone else is working. The Members of the U.S. Congress don’t go shopping on Federal Holidays, but we do (another reason they should work the Holiday and continue to give us the day off). Seriously, when was the last time Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) went to a Mall? How about Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) ? Seen her at a Baltimore Macy’s anytime recently?

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    “I would find it contemptible if Congress (and America for that matter) forced rank and file Federal Civil Servants to work on Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas for God’s Sake! These are ESSENTIAL American/Christian Memorial HOLIDAYS that EVERY member of the US should have, including the Federal work force! If they want to take back Labor Day and Columbus Day, I’d give up two – NOT 10! But first, they need to permanently cut their pay, limit their terms, and furlough themselves.” Mad in Maryland

  • “I would rather work and be paid on the holidays rather than be furloughed for 10 days without pay. Actually I have no sympathy for those in the private sector that are unemployed because they chose not to work for the federal government.” Audrey of the Army
  • “If it’s all or nothing, I’d rather be furloughed than forced to work holidays. Granted, could easily do without Columbus Day, Martin Luther King, Presidents’ Day, etc. but don’t want to have to fight with co-workers over who is allowed to take leave for Xmas, Thanksgiving, etc. And many in private sector DO get such holidays off!

    “By the way, the idea that an unpaid furlough must be non-consecutive days is just plain punitive. It would save the government the exact same amount of money if the employees who wish to do so were allowed to take the furlough as consecutive days. The employees could use the time for elder-care trips, necessary home repair projects, even an outside job if one could be found.

    “Congress doesn’t limit their time away from the House or Senate to non-consecutive days. Can we trust that if they pass such a law, they’ll cut their own pay the equivalent of ten days to show their commitment to saving the government money?!” Secret Agent Man

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


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The Institute of Medicine recommends that no woman carrying a single baby gain more than 40 pounds during a pregnancy. According to the National Turkey Federation, the average weight of a Thanksgiving turkey is 16 pounds.

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