Civilian furlough days to be reduced from 11 to 6

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAFF) - The total number of furlough days for Department of Defense civilian employees will be reduced from 11 to six, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday.

Starting on July 8, civilian workers, including more than 15,000 at Redstone Arsenal, have been taking a day of unpaid leave per week.

This is the fifth week of furloughs.

In his statement, Hagel said the furloughs have saved money and the DoD will be able to make up the budgetary shortfall this year with fewer furlough days than initially announced.

Abner Merriweather with the American Federation of Government Employees out of Huntsville said the reduction in days is a huge win for those impacted by furloughs.

"20 million dollars has been restored back into the economy by reducing those days from 11 to 6 days," he said.  "Of the 15,000 there are several hundred employees who have already completed their six days.  So, the six day furlough is already over for them for the vast majority the last day of furloughs is the 17th of August. "

Altogether, officials said they were able to identify about $1.5 billion in new savings. About $1 billion of that was used to buy back the five furlough days and another $500 million is being used to restore money for Air Force training and flight hours, along with training for about six Army brigade combat teams.

The Department of Defense is still working to trim $37-million from its budget due to sequestration.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.