Gov. Ige to Furlough State Employees Starting January 1

Hawaii State Capitol

State employees will be furloughed two days a month starting Jan. 1, 2021 in an effort to save state budget, Governor David Ige announce on Dec. 9. The furlough is expected to happen for the whole year 2021.

According to the press release, the state is expecting a “$1.4 billion budget shortfall in the general fund for each of the next four years.” With the furlough, the state estimates they will save around $300 million.

“This is the last major element of the balanced budget that I am require to submit to the state Legislature every December,” said Ige in the press release.

Ige further explained that they tried to balance the state budget without having to furlough employees.

For the past eight months, the state engaged in cost-saving budgeting such as a hiring freeze on 3,000 non-critical position vacancies; temporarily suspended pre-funding of some post-employment benefits saving $390 million, and cutting program budgets by $600 million every year starting 2022.

Although the state still decided to furlough employees, Ige said the “harsher alternative to furloughs is layoffs, which as already complicated the lives of thousands of fellow citizens who work in the private sector.”

The press release further states that the furloughs will not apply to about 4,600 employees that support 24/7 functions and those who are funded with non-general fund resources such as first responders, medical and public safety personnel and departments of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Transportation employees.

The State will announce the details of the furloughs soon.

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