Requirements of the FY21 Furlough Program
A mandatory furlough is a designated amount of unpaid administrative leave. It is being used as a mechanism to create salary savings to help alleviate budget shortfalls.
To learn more about why a mandatory furlough was proposed for the fiscal year 2021 and certain details of its development and implementation you may read the following Presidential Memos:
- June 18, 2020 | Mandatory Furlough Plan for FY21
- May 11, 2020 | Proposed Mandatory Furlough Plan for FY21
No. This will not affect your budgeted pay/salary rate.
All board-appointed faculty and staff from all funding sources except for those on H1B visa status.
H1B visa holders are exempt from the furlough due to immigration requirements for them to be paid the pre-determined stated salary.
No. All board-appointed employees, both classified and exempt, are required to participate in the furlough program other than those employees on H1B status described in question No. 4 above.
No. If you meet the criteria listed in question No. 3 above, you are required to take furlough.
This option is available for exempt/faculty employees. The reduction is equal to the number of furlough hours multiplied by the base hourly rate. A separate communication will be sent with instructions for making this choice through VandalWeb. The salary reduction in lieu of furlough will be effective from the pay period beginning June 28, 2020 (or the beginning of your contract) through the pay period ending on January 23, 2021.
Furlough is the default choice. You are not required to elect furlough if you choose that option over a salary reduction.
You must take the furlough hours or the optional salary reduction. You cannot take part as a salary reduction and part as furlough hours; it is one or the other.
Exempt/faculty employees have the option to take an equivalent salary reduction as explained in No. 7 above.
Yes, provided you meet the criteria noted in question No. 3 above. Full-year sabbaticals are paid at half of the base budgeted salary, so the number of furlough hours has been adjusted to account for the actual salary paid during the sabbatical. Half-year sabbaticals are paid at the full based budgeted salary, so no adjustment was made for the calculation of furlough hours.
No. The mandatory furlough program begins with the start of the FY21 fiscal year, June 28, 2020.
No. The voluntary furlough program was designated for FY20. The mandatory furlough program impacts FY21, beginning June 28, 2020.
Furlough balance can be viewed along with your other leave balances on VandalWeb. This number will be maintained to show hours taken and hours remaining based on the web time and leave entry process at the end of each pay period.
All furlough hours must be taken between June 28, 2020 and Jan. 23, 2021.
No. The furlough hours must be taken during FY21 which begins June 28, 2020.
Faculty employees on academic year (spread pay or standard pay) contract can begin taking and recording their furlough leave during the AY21, which begins August 17, 2020.
While it is the intention of the furlough program to allow as much flexibility as possible, if all furlough hours are not taken by the end of the furlough period, you will be placed on furlough in the next pay period (Jan. 24 – Feb. 6, 2021) to fulfill the furlough obligation.
Yes, provided they meet the criteria noted in question No. 3 above.
No, other types of paid leave may not be used simultaneously with furlough.
Temporary employees are exempt from the furlough due to the intended short duration or intermittent need of the position.
TAs and RAs are student positions that are part of the student experience and enhance the student’s education.
The furlough program expects all employees to contribute to meeting financial challenges at the university.
There was substantial feedback provided on the original plan that suggested exempting employees funded by grants or other non-Gen Ed or non-state sources from furloughs. The feedback correctly pointed out that salary savings in those categories would not address the 5% holdback to the Gen Ed budget but could impact progress on projects funded by grants and contracts. However, there was other feedback from managers of some externally-funded projects that furloughs would provide a mechanism for budget management in their project as well as concern in some units that employees in the same kinds of jobs had disparate funding sources and therefore exempting some employees based on funding source would result in undesirable differences in treatment.
Ultimately the university decision emphasizes the principle of consistent treatment of employees, regardless of funding source, that underlies the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) that governs federal awards to universities, as well as our own university policies.
Because the feedback also drove a decision by the university to reduce the minimum furlough from 24 hours to eight hours (and thereby reduce the furlough hours for everyone making less than $70,000) the impact on most post-doctoral scholars and other research staff was reduced. This reduced impact will also better preserve the ability to continue good progress on sponsored projects.
Savings due to furlough in grants, contracts, and other externally funded projects remains with the project and can be expended at the discretion of the principal investigator.
PIs have discretion, within agency guidelines, of spending any furlough savings on expenses associated with the sponsored project and F&A associated with those expenditures will be recovered.
Calculations and Projections of the FY21 Furlough Program
Based on the FY21 roster as of July 1, 2020, 2,260 employees will be furloughed. This includes 1,500 staff, coaches, and postdocs and 760 faculty members.
The total projected savings from all funding sources is over $5.4 million. From the General Education fund, the savings is approximately $3.3 million. These figures include savings from both salary and benefits costs.
The calculations were driven by the need to save $3.3 million from the General Education budget from salary and benefits expenses. There are three steps:
- All employees are required to take a minimum of eight hours of furlough. This amount is prorated for term and FTE.
- A graduated scale based on budgeted salary was used for all employees earning over $40,352 to determine the remaining number of furlough hours to reach the general education fund goal. ($40,352 is the minimum salary for exempt employees.)
- All employees earning over $90,000 annually are required to take an additional number of hours of furlough equal to 1% of their salary.
At the end of these three steps the total number of hours was rounded up to the nearest hour for each individual creating a graduated scale from 8 hours for those on the lower end of the pay scale to 102 hours for those on the upper end of the pay scale (with adjustments made for term and FTE as stated).
New employees hired after the beginning of the furlough period are required to take furlough. The amount of furlough hours will be equal to the number of hours for similarly situated employees with the same approximate pay rate and prorated by the number of pay periods remaining in the furlough period. For example, if the number of furlough hours is 40 and we are halfway through the furlough period, then the new employee will be required to take 20 hours.
Furlough hours will be determined during the hiring proposal process. Supervisors need to include this information in the offer.
New employees will not have the option to take a salary reduction in lieu of furlough.
The original assignment of furlough hours will not be adjusted in these cases. Employees will continue taking furlough at the new rate of pay. (The dynamics of the salary reduction option, the amount of furlough taken prior to the pay change and the effective date of the pay change create a very complicated solution for making adjustments.)
Faculty members on spread pay at a rate based on 2,080 hours (52 weeks at 40 hours per week) for all 26 pay periods in a fiscal year. Faculty members (9 month academic year appointments) not on spread pay receive pay at a rate based on 1,560 (39 weeks of 40 hours per week) but only for the 20 pay periods in the academic year. For faculty members with the same annual salary this results in different hourly rates for purposes of calculating salary for each individual pay period. The bases for determining the required number furlough hours is the total salary reduction, without regard to hourly rate calculations for each pay period. In order to assure that faculty receive an equivalent number of furlough hours without regard to whether a particular faculty has elected spread pay, all furlough hours will be charged against the faculty's salary based on the actual contract salary rate, not the spread pay rate. Those who have chosen spread pay should consult with HR if they have questions regarding how this will impact a particular pay period, since it is possible to have the furlough charge for a pay period exceed the amount of spread pay salary.
Affected employees may file an appeal through the grievance processes outlined in FSH 3840, 3860 or 3890 as applicable, to contest only whether the furlough, with respect to your employment, violates the procedural requirements of the Idaho State Board of Education policy, applicable university policy or your constitutional or statutory protections as an employee. Grievances may not be filed to challenge the determination that a reduction in budgetary expenditures is necessary, nor contest the decision to enact furloughs, unless the furlough violates constitutional or statutory protections for you as an employee.
Consequences of Furlough on Benefits/Employment Conditions
Health insurance will remain unaffected by the furlough. (If you have a large number of furlough hours and choose to take all of those hours during one pay period, your paycheck for that period may be too small to cover your contributions for health insurance. If you are considering this strategy, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Contributions to retirement accounts (PERSI and ORIP) are based on paid wages. No wages will be earned or paid for furlough hours, therefore, the corresponding contributions to retirement accounts will reduced from the normal amount.
No. Vacation and sick leave are accrued based on hours worked. There are no hours worked during furlough and, therefore, no leave accrual.
Probationary periods are six full months. Furlough does not change the probationary period. In some cases, supervisors may work with HR to extend the probationary period to provide the employee with additional time to demonstrate success in the new position.
All hours worked are covered by worker’s compensation insurance, however, you are not authorized to work during furlough. If you come to work you are not on furlough and you are covered by worker’s compensation. This, of course, negates the furlough time and it must be rescheduled.
Compliance with the furlough process will not negatively impact your performance review.
No. A furlough shared bank is not available.
Taking and Recording Furlough
Supervisors are responsible to ensure employees take the required furlough hours.
The university will remain open for regular business hours. Coordinate your time off for furlough with your supervisor.
Yes, with supervisor approval you may bundle your furlough hours/days with a holiday or planned vacation. Although furlough hours may not be submitted on a University of Idaho paid holiday.
Yes. The smallest increment is 15 minutes.
Exempt employees are not required to take furlough in four-hour blocks. See No. 40.
For exempt staff and faculty, the FLSA requires an hourly record of the hours worked for any week in which furlough hours are taken.
Yes. If a classified employee works, the employee must be compensated for the time worked, reducing the furlough hours taken. If an exempt employee performs any work during the scheduled furlough, the employee must be compensated and must reschedule the furlough time.
Supervisors should avoid calling employees in to work from furlough if at all possible.
A question has arisen over performance expectations for exempt faculty and staff who are on furlough. Those on furlough must take time away from their regular work schedule equal to the number of hours allocated to them. Overall performance expectations must adjust accordingly. However exempt employees are considered professionals whose job function includes making the professional decisions necessary to perform their jobs in the best manner, including prioritizing their time and efforts to best meet the prioritized needs of the employer. It is a priority of the university that classes not be canceled and that the overall student experience be impacted as little as possible as a result of the furlough. How individual faculty and staff meet this priority remains a valid performance measure.
No. You are not authorized to work during furlough, even in a voluntary capacity.
No. Classes may not be canceled due to furlough.
No. In order to be reimbursed for the trip you would need to be on university business which would count as working status. Since you are not authorized to work during the time you are on furlough, your travel would not be considered university business-related and expenses would not be reimbursable. If you choose to take furlough during that week, you will not be allowed to collect reimbursement for travel expenses during your days of furlough.
Consulting will be allowed during furlough; however, employees may not extend the number of days they can consult defined by FSH 3260(B-1).
The answer is dependent on your individual circumstances, including how the joint appointment is funded. We analyze these situations on a case-by-case basis. Please contact your chair and dean to submit your case for consideration.
No. All furlough hours must be taken by January 23, 2021.
Submit requests for furlough in the same manner you would for taking other type of leave. While you have input on when you take furlough hours, supervisors must approve the timing of furloughs.
Employees will use the designated furlough code in the web time and leave entry system to record furlough hours in the same way they would record other types of leave.
For employees retiring or leaving early, the assigned furlough hours will be prorated based on the last day of employment, however, the furlough must be taken prior to the end of employment.
University of Idaho employees taking furlough may be eligible for unemployment benefits. To learn more, please contact the Idaho Department of Labor.