Information for Supervisors About the Furlough and Pay Reduction Program

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About the Furlough or Pay Reduction Program

The University has implemented a Furlough and Pay Reduction Program as a cost-saving measure for all employees earning $60,000 or more. Whether employees receive a furlough or a pay reduction depends on their employee group:

  • Labor-Represented and Civil Service employees, who are paid hourly, are required to take a number of unpaid furlough hours during the fiscal year.
  • Faculty and P&A employees, who are paid a salary, receive pay reductions. They also receive a bank of paid time off, corresponding to their pay reduction, which they have the option of taking.

In each case, the furloughs or pay reductions will be based on the employee’s salary, weighted toward those at higher income levels. 

For Supervisors of Labor-Represented and Civil Service Employees

Scheduling and Using 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.
  • Vacation and compensatory time cannot be used in place of furlough hours.
  • Employees submit requests for furlough hours as 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.) Supervisors will approve or deny the request hours as they normally do with similar absence requests.
  • Employees who have not scheduled their Period 1 furlough hours before December 7, 2020, will have the hours scheduled by their department to be taken by December 20, 2020. December 20 was chosen as the end date for Period 1 because it is the last pay period of the calendar year. 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.

Restrictions During a Furlough

A furlough is a 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 a furlough, employees are not allowed to perform any University work, including checking emails, returning calls, or performing other University duties.

Learn more about the Furlough Program and visit the Furlough and Pay Reduction Program Frequently Asked Questions page.

For Supervisors of Faculty and P&A Staff

Faculty Covered by UEA

For Faculty employees covered by the University Education Association collective bargaining agreement (eligible UM Duluth and UM Crookston faculty), the collective bargaining agreement between the University of Minnesota and the UEA was due for negotiations in 2020. The University presented the UEA negotiating team a Last, Best, and Final Offer, which was not ratified by UEA members. The University is implementing its Last, Best, and Final Offer on December 14, 2020. Since UEA members received their full pay during Period 1 of the Pay Reduction Program, they will have the combined total for both periods taken from their pay during Period 2.

Scheduling and Using Pay Reduction Program Hours

  • Employees receive a bank of paid hours off in recognition of the pay reduction, which they have the option of taking. Employees are entitled to use this time, but they are not required to take it off. Supervisors should be flexible to accommodate the use of these hours, especially for those employees in 9- and 10-month appointments who do not have vacation hours as part of their benefits. These employees also are entitled to use these special paid hours off during the time frame of the program.
  • This time lasts through June 20, 2021. This date is the last pay period of the fiscal year.
  • If Faculty or P&A staff decide to take any of this time, they should submit requests for Pay Reduction Program Hours as any other absence—by using the My Time tab in MyU.
  • Supervisors need to approve or deny Pay Reduction Program hours as they normally do with similar absence requests.
  • This program is separate from the 27th Pay Date, which is due to the University’s biweekly pay system.

Learn more about the Pay Reduction Program, including the impact on benefits, FMLA, and other questions on the main Furlough and Pay Reduction Program Frequently Asked Questions page.

Frequently Asked Questions for Supervisors 

Q: Does the Pay Reduction Program affect employees participating in the Retirement Incentive Option?

A: Employees who have signed up for the Retirement Incentive Option do not need to participate in Period 2.

Q: Can a Labor Represented or Civil Service employee take furlough hours before or after a University designated holiday?

A: Yes. supervisor approved furlough hours may be used before or after a University designated holiday with no effect on holiday pay.

 Q: Do I need to approve Reduction in Pay (TRP) hours for faculty and P&A staff?

 A: Yes, similar to other leave time, your approval is required. 

Q: Do I need to approve furlough hours for Labor Represented and Civil Service staff?

A: Yes. Similar to other leave time, you will need to approve the requested furlough hours (to be taken in 1/4 hour increments) prior to the pay period in which the furlough time will be taken.

Q: When should furlough hours be used?  

A: Employees must use half of their required furlough hours in each furlough period:

  • Furlough Period 1:  June 22 through December 20, 2020  
  • Furlough Period 2:  December 21, 2020, through June 20, 2021

Additionally:

  • The end dates for the periods are the last pay period for the calendar and fiscal years.
  • Employees who did not schedule their Period 1 furlough hours before December 7, 2020, will have the hours scheduled by their department to be taken by December 20, 2020.
  • 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.

 
Q; Can employees take more furlough hours than assigned? Can employees give more to support others?

A: No, employees are not able to take furlough hours beyond what has been assigned. For consideration: A hardship fund is being developed to assist University employees, which will be funded by voluntary contributions from employees. A fund also exists to assist students facing economic hardship. These funds are an option for employees who desire to give more.

 
Q: Do furlough hours affect an FMLA leave?

A: Employees who are subject to furlough hours may use their unpaid furlough hours concurrent with FMLA leave. (The parental leave would not necessarily be the first leave used on FMLA.) Furlough hours will not affect an hourly employee's ability to take paid parental leave, but employees must work with their supervisors to schedule the designated number of unpaid furlough hours within the applicable period (Period 1 or Period 2).

 

Q: Can Labor-Represented or Civil Service employees use paid leave in lieu of a furlough day?

A: No. Annual leave, personal, or sick time may not be used to offset furlough time.

 

Q: Will seniority be affected by furlough time off?

A: No. Furlough time off will not affect seniority for Labor-Represented and Civil Service employees.

 

Q: Will employees who are affected by the Furlough and Pay Reduction Program continue to accrue vacation days while using furlough or pay reduction hours?

A: Civil Service and Labor-Represented employees continue to accrue sick and annual leave as usual. Faculty and P&A accrue annual leave as usual.

  

Q: How are employees going to complete the work not performed during time off without using overtime later?

A: This will be handled between the employee and their supervisor. Options include identifying ways to streamline work, delaying timelines where possible, and managing time away to ensure adequate coverage. 

Additional resources are available from Leadership and Talent Development for supervisors that may be helpful in managing priorities during the Furlough and Pay Reduction Program. You can view the webinars and related resources on Driving Results Through Others and  Building Resilient Teams and Workplaces.

 

Q: Was there any discussion about how clinical positions or those 100% funded by research would be affected?

A: Yes. Furloughs or reductions in pay are applied to all positions, including clinical, and other positions funded by grants that meet the other requirements (such as minimum income, type of position, etc.)

  

Q: Many Faculty receive a salary from multiple sources; for example, sponsored and non-sponsored accounts, clinical and academic funds, etc. How will the University ensure that Faculty do not receive disproportionately large reductions due to separate cuts to, or reclamation of funds from, the individual sources they may be paid from?

A: For Faculty, the pay reduction associated with the Pay Reduction Program is determined by their institutional base salary, which is defined as the total of base pay, faculty and administrative augments, increments, and Regent's Professorship payments across all appointments. Income from other sources outside of the University may be subject to other reductions beyond the control of the University. Specific budgeting questions related to pay reductions from individuals with unique situations will be handled case by case.