More than 1,300 Missouri National Guard employees will be losing some work days in the next three months, thanks to the federal government's budget sequester.
Maj. Tammy Spicer, the Missouri Guard's information officer, said Friday 1,328 "federal technicians" have been told "to plan for 88 hours of furloughing, to be completed by the end of the fiscal year on September 30."
That's 12 weeks away.
So, on average, that means each employee will lose one day's work - and that day's pay - for 11 of the next 12 weeks.
Sequestration is the across-the-board cuts in the federal budget, required by a 2011 law that kicked in when Congress failed to pass a more specific budget.
With few exceptions, the cuts are aimed at all federal agencies and departments.
In an open letter to National Guard staff, Army Gen. Frank J. Grass wrote: "I had fervently hoped that the furlough would be avoided, however, it is upon us and I am deeply concerned for all who are affected."
Grass, a native Missourian who is the new chief of the National Guard Bureau, said he was concerned "about the negative impact this will have on our readiness and our ability to accomplish our mission."
He also wrote he was concerned "about how the furlough will affect your ability to do your job and meet your performance goals and objectives," as well as the "significant impacts and subsequent hardship the furlough could have on you and your families."
Unless Congress changes the plan, similar cuts will be made in each federal business year, Oct. 1-Sept. 30, through Sept. 30, 2023.
When the sequester began taking effect March 1, Missouri Adjutant Gen. Steve Danner said the Guard would "continue to provide the people of Missouri the support they deserve."