Looming for months, the federal furlough letters are finally going out.
SPAWAR, the high-tech Navy command, began notifying its more than 2,600 employees in North Charleston this week about the 11 days they will have to take off, likely starting in July.
Delivery of the “proposal to furlough” letters started Tuesday, according to Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic spokesman Tommy Groves, and all employees will have received their official notices by this time next week.
The first mandatory day off won’t come before July 8, according to Groves, and will likely be Friday, July 12. While most people will take the same furlough day each week, Groves noted SPAWAR has flexibility “based on mission requirements.”
Federal officials initially forecast 22 days of furloughs, but that number has been halved over the course of the spring. Groves noted in an email Wednesday morning that the stay-home days could end sooner if the Department of Defense can find savings elsewhere.
The furloughs are part of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, which took effect March 1. The military’s portion of the furloughs is expected to save about $2.5 billion.
Including SPAWAR, the Charleston area is home to more than 50 military commands that employ some 5,000 civlians. The furloughs will also affect the other federal agencies in the Lowcountry.
Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 and follow him on Twitter at @kearney_brendan.