Ige announces furloughs for state employees starting Jan. 1

Gov. David Ige announced earlier this afternoon that state employees will be furloughed two days a month starting Jan. 1 to balance the state budget.

The state is projecting a $1.4 billion budget shortfall in the general fund for each of the next four years.

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“If the furlough is effective for one year, the state will save about $300 million,” Ige said in a statement. “This is the last major element of the balanced budget that I am required to submit to the state Legislature every December. The pandemic has had harsh economic impacts on our country, and as a result, every state is having to make difficult choices. Hawaii is among the hardest hit states in terms of job loss and lower economic activity, because of the state’s reliance on tourism.”

Over the past eight months, the state has been closely assessing COVID-19’s impact on the economy, addressing the loss of tax dollars and the need to budget for new emergency initiatives, the administration said.

The furloughs will not apply to positions that support 24/7 functions, nor will they apply to jobs funded with nongeneral fund sources. This includes about 4,600 employees who are first responders, medical and public safety personnel, and employees at the departments of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Transportation.

About 10,160 employees will be subject to the furlough.

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Details on how the furloughs will be implemented, will be announced soon, according to the administration.

See Thursday’s Tribune-Herald for more.

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