Sequestration has increased the great debate between government employees and contractors. Department of Defense civilians, as well as professionals from agencies including the National Security Administration, began mandatory furloughs this week. From now through the end of the fiscal year they’ll be taking one unpaid holiday per week – and will face a 20 percent reduction in salary, as well.

It’s nor surprising that it’s causing a bit of tension in offices with a split make-up of government employees, military personnel and contractors. Some have asked the question – when will contractors pay the price? Well, depending on who you talk to, they already are. We’ve had feedback from a number of contract employees that they have already faced mandatory furloughs within their company – days or weeks of unpaid leave as a result of reductions in contracts or other company belt-tightening. Are contractors a part of sequestration’s mandatory furloughs? No. But are some contractor’s making the decision to furlough employees in order to save money? Yes.

Fortunately for furloughed government employees, the Department of Defense, anyway, is already looking at ways to once again reduce the number of furlough days required (from 11, down to 8). Smaller budgets in the next fiscal year could result in more furlough days, however, or more layoffs. But things will get even dicier for government contractors. Contracts that are current today may not be renewed in the next fiscal year – and that will mean more furloughs, or layoffs for contractors.

Basically, the answer for everyone on all sides of the equation is ‘we feel your pain.’ And if not now, we likely will.

(Looking for a bright spot? IT security remains in demand, and employers are looking to hire).

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer