Sequester Impact on Workforce Tallied

GAO has reported that during budgetary sequestration last year finding that 20 of 22 departments and large independent agencies it studied canceled or limited employee monetary awards, 20 reduced employee travel, 19 reduced employee training, 19 curtailed external hiring, 15 reduced overtime, 14 curtailed internal hiring, nine offered early retirement and buy…out incentives, and seven furloughed a total of 770,000 employees, for up to seven days—the largest being DoD, which furloughed 640,500 for six days. The value of the lost salary to employees of those agencies, which accounted for the large majority of furloughs, was almost $1.4 billion–$1.2 billion of that at DoD. The cutbacks had effects including reducing or delaying services to the public, adding to backlogs in benefits applications, reducing safety-related oversight, lost revenue, and more susceptibility to fraud. Agencies also took steps such as reprogramming funds and using unspent balances from prior years, along with canceling or delaying grants and contract awards. GAO added that many of the cost-saving steps might not be available should sequestration hit in a future year. Under a recent budget agreement, that likely could not happen at least until fiscal 2016.