The Merit Systems Protection Board has suspended the arbitration of layoff requests from Pentagon employees, roughly 650,000 of whom have been furloughed as a result of sequestration, Government Executive reported Monday.
Kellie Lunney writes the furlough appeals filed by Defense Department workers account for more than 90 percent of 30,400 requests the board has received so far this fiscal year.
The agency described the number of petitions is has been receiving as “unprecedented” and “overwhelming,” although the report noted that officials had anticipated the surge prior to the March budget cuts.
The report cited an MSPB statement as saying the indefinite delay was meant to allot time to study in more detail how to address the situation.
The board advised workers to continue filing their appeals online and noted that petitions from government bodies other than the DoD will be processed as usual.
“As you can imagine, our regional offices have been overwhelmed, but our employees are working hard and doing the best they can do under difficult circumstances,” Bryan Polisuk, MSPB general counsel, said in an email.
He noted that eight regional offices throughout the country have so far collected 10,700 furlough appeals from different federal agencies.