Furlough Program

Civil Service and Labor-Represented Employees

About Furloughs

A furlough is mandatory time off from work, without pay. Furloughs allow the University to save salary costs to help meet budget challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. During furlough, employees are not allowed to perform any University work, including working remotely, making or returning calls, or checking University email.

Civil Service (including V-class and exempt Civil Service) and Labor-Represented* employees who are subject to furlough receive a bank of unpaid furlough hours corresponding to their institutional base salary (IBS). The bank of unpaid furlough hours assigned for each program period must be used during that period.

Furlough hours for Labor-Represented and Civil Service employees were determined by calculating a comparable number of hours to the pay reductions occurring for P&A and Faculty employees. Hours were rounded to the nearest quarter hour.

Annual furlough hours were split between periods 1 and 2. When splitting resulted in an hour increment smaller than a quarter hour, the split was adjusted so the smaller number of hours was assigned to the first period, as illustrated in this example:

Annual furlough hours = 42.75
Period 1 hours = 21.25
Period 2 hours = 21.50

Paid leave (vacation, compensatory time, and personal holiday) may not be used in lieu of furlough hours.

Employees may take paid leave (vacation, compensatory time, or personal holiday) before using all their furlough hours only after all furlough hours have been scheduled and approved by your supervisor.

*For employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, please also refer to the memorandum of agreement specific to your bargaining unit.

Taking Your Furlough Hours

Submit requests for furlough hours as you do for any other absence—by using the My Time tab in MyU. Choose "Furlough" as the reason for the absence. (Some employees will use a time-tracking system unique to their unit.) For instructions on submitting a furlough absence request, see this help guide.

Furlough time may be used consecutively or intermittently in increments of 15 minutes (0.25 hours) or greater.

Vacation and sick leave accrual, seniority, and probationary periods will not be affected by furloughs.

Furlough time may be taken adjacent to other leave time and holidays. Holidays will be paid if furlough hours are used prior to or following that holiday.

Employees who have not scheduled their Period 2 furlough hours before June 7, 2021, will have the hours scheduled by their department to be taken by June 20, 2021.

Furloughs and Your Benefits




No Impact


Basic Life

Additional Employee Life

Spouse Life

Child Life

Voluntary Short-Term & Long-Term Disability


While the hourly rate is not affected. However, the severance payment could be affected if the furlough causes the employee to drop below 1,560 total hours for that year. In that case, an employee's years of service in the severance calculation would be impacted. 

Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS)

While the percentage of contribution is not changing, contributions (both employee and employer) decrease based on the lower earnings. This may affect an employee's pension benefit if they are in their five years of highest earnings used in the pension benefit calculation. Employees can personally make up the missed pension contributions (both employee and employer), but this typically only makes sense for those who are in the five years of highest salary. Service credit would only be affected if the furlough time causes the employee to drop below 40 hours per 80-hour pay period. For more information, contact MSRS at www.msrs.state.mn.us or 800-657-5757 before taking any furlough time.

Unemployment Benefits During Furlough

You may be eligible for unemployment benefits during a furlough. The State of Minnesota determines eligibility for unemployment insurance. You are not eligible for benefits in any week you work 32 or more hours, or when your gross earnings for the week are equal to or greater than your weekly benefit amount. For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions page and the Minnesota unemployment insurance website.

Frequently Asked Questions

For more detailed information on the Furlough Program, see the Frequently Asked Questions page.

More Information

OHR Contact Center: ohr@umn.edu, 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363.