HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- Employees at Hill Air Force Base have received word of a reprieve -- government furloughs won't be as long or begin as soon as originally anticipated.
Hill spokesman Rich Essary said base officials received confirmation Thursday afternoon that the Department of Defense has reduced the number of civilian furlough days from 22 to 14.
Essary also said base officials anticipate the furloughs will begin sometime in mid-June -- instead of the beginning of April, as was originally planned -- and will run through the end of September. Essary said if and when official dates are set, civilian base employees will be issued a 30-day notice prior to the furloughs beginning.
The reduction of furlough days comes because of additional money provided by Congress in a defense spending bill for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, which has allowed the Pentagon to scale back the amount of unpaid leave.
The change is a sign that Pentagon cuts may not be as dire as initially outlined, at least for this year.
The Pentagon will have to slice as much as $500 billion from planned spending over the next nine years unless Congress and President Barack Obama agree on an alternative deficit-reduction package. More than $40 billion still must be cut this year.
The new defense spending bill, which provides about $10 billion in additional operations and maintenance funding and more flexibility in applying the reductions, has triggered a review of the department's budget-cutting plans.
Those plans included cuts to Army training, reduced flying hours for Air Force pilots and the suspension of most operations for four Navy air wings. The Navy also postponed the deployment of an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region.
Essary said approximately 11,500 civilian employees on base could be subject to furloughs.
Bette Parkin works on base as an equipment item manager and said she received word of the reduced furlough days Thursday from her leadership. Parkin said she and several of her fellow employees still worry about how the furloughs will affect them.
"It's not good enough," she said of the reduction. "It needs to not be an option at all. We're all still worried and trying to figure out how we're going to deal with smaller pay checks."
The IRS employs 4,100 workers in Utah, many at its Ogden office, but it's still unclear how many of them will be furloughed and for how many days.
"We don't know the answer to that yet," said IRS spokesman Bill Brunson. "It hasn't been determined yet."
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.