Most Maryland state workers are taking a mandatory vacation Friday, just as they did last year before Labor Day and will do again in 2013.

Gov. Martin O'Malley issued an executive order in 2011 for 15 furlough days over a three-year period, from fiscal 2012 through fiscal 2014. The order is a cost-cutting move as the state struggles with yearly budget gaps and a $600 million structural deficit.

In addition to the Friday before Labor Day, state employees are also furloughed the day before Thanksgiving, the last work day before Christmas, the last work day before New Year's Day, and the Friday before Memorial Day.