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April 11, 2013

White House employees will take unpaid leave because of budget cuts

It took a few weeks but the so-called sequester has arrived at the White House.

The White House will begin implementing furloughs for all 468 employees next month as part of the across-the-board budget cuts implemented in March, according to a White House aide.

Each employee must take three to 10 days over a three to seven month period.

Notices have also been sent to employees at the Office of the Vice President, the Office of Management and Budget and the Council on Environmental Quality, the aide said.

The White House had previously announced that 480 employees in OMB would be furloughed for 10 days between April 21 and Sept. 1. But officials had been reluctant to discuss further cuts, though they had been asked regularly.

Each division within the Executive Office of the President will cut costs in a variety of ways including pay cuts, hiring slow-downs, delayed back-filling of open positions, scaling-back supplies and equipment purchases, curtailing staff travel and reducing the use of air cards and subscriptions.

"All of this means that every EOP employee is dealing with the consequences both in their own lives and in their ability to do their job," the aide said.

Some members of the president’s staff who are commissioned officers, including top deputies and advisers, will have their paychecks docked the equivalent of one day’s pay.

The White House has received criticism for canceling its public tours, though it has kept some events in tact, such as the Easter Egg Roll and this weekend's spring garden tour.

President Obama said last week that he would return five percent of his $400,000 annual salary in a show of solidarity with federal workers. Several Cabinet secretaries have announced the same.

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