Furloughs are unpaid leaves that may be voluntarily requested or mandated by the president or a chancellor when budgetary circumstances require a specific reduction in personnel costs. A furlough results in day(s) off without pay. Furloughs can be taken in daily, weekly or monthly increments. Employees on furlough continue to accrue annual and sick leave at the same rates as when such employees are on paid leave or engaged in university work during regularly scheduled business hours, and maintain benefits eligibility. UCCS uses both continuous and intermittent furloughs.
Intermittent Furloughs -
An intermittent furlough is not a reduction in employee percent of time, but rather, a reduction in pay for a specified number of days over a set period of time. Employees will receive specific guidance about the number of furlough days which they will be asked to take. Employees cannot be required to work without pay, thus, would not be working on furlough days.
For example, some employees may be asked to take one furlough day per month. That day should be coordinated with their supervisor. The employee should enter Furlough Leave into My Leave. They should not work and will not be paid for this day.
Continuous Furloughs -
A continuous furlough is a period of unpaid leave taken on a continuous basis through an entire period of time. A continuous furlough duration may be one month, three months, six months, etc. During a period of continuous furlough, employees cannot be asked to work at all, as they are not being paid.
For example, an employee on a three month furlough may be told they may not work from July 1 through September 30th. During that time period, the employee may not work at all and will not be paid. The employee will be placed on a leave of absence in the payroll system and will not need to submit timesheets in My Leave during the continuous furlough period.
How does a furlough impact my benefits and leave accruals?
While you are in a furloughed status, your elected benefits (e.g. medical, dental, vision, STD, LTD, Life, etc.) will continue and you will be responsible for paying your portion of your benefit premiums and pre-tax contributions. If your pay for any month is not enough to cover the employee portion of elected benefit costs, you will be advised of any benefit premium payments due outside of the payroll process by Employee Services, including a monthly invoice to cover any remaining premium amount due.
Employees should reference their pay advice in the My UCCS Portal under the My Info and Pay tile to determine their benefit cost. Any questions about benefits should be directed to Employee Services at (303) 860-4200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
While on furlough, employees continue to accrue vacation and sick leave at their regular rate. You may not use accrued leave on, or to substitute for, a furlough day.
Can classified staff be furloughed?
Classified staff cannot be mandatorily furloughed without action from the governor and/or legislature. Classified staff can be voluntarily furloughed with a declaration of a “budget deficit in personal services” from President Kennedy. At this time, we do not have this declaration.
Can I choose in which paycheck my salary is reduced following a furlough day?
No, employees will see a reduction on their paycheck for the pay period in which the furlough day is taken.
Will a furlough affect retirement contributions?
Yes. The employee and employer share of retirement contributions are based on salary paid. A reduction in salary, as a result of the furlough, will reduce the base amount used to calculate the retirement plan contribution amounts. For PERA, an employee must earn $580 in a month to have that month counted towards service credit. If a furlough lowers the amount of earnings lower than $580, that month will not be counted as PERA service credit.
Can a furloughed employee utilize the employee tuition benefit?
Yes, employees on furlough will be able to use the tuition benefit.
Can I use accrued leave instead of taking a furlough day?
No, accrued leave may not be used on or to substitute for a furlough day.
Do I lose holiday leave if I am furloughed during a scheduled university holiday?
No, employees who are scheduled to take a furlough day on a holiday will not lose earned holiday leave. The holiday leave hours can be taken before the end of the calendar year with the approval of the supervisor.
Am I eligible for unemployment benefits to cover my lost wages due to a furlough?
Yes, assuming you meet the other criteria to qualify for unemployment. The Colorado Deptartment of Labor and Employment (CDLE) administers the unemployment benefit process, and the most complete information can be found on the CDLE's unemployment page.
During the time that you are in furloughed status, you will not be permitted to perform your job duties. There are no exceptions to this requirement.
Does an employee have grievance rights regarding a furlough or temporary salary reduction?
Neither the placement of an employee on a furlough nor a temporary salary reduction gives rise to any grievance or appeal rights.
Will my length of service dates be affected by a furlough?
CU length of service dates are not adjusted during furloughs. For PERA, an employee must earn $580 in a month to have that month counted towards service credit. If a furlough lowers the amount of earnings lower than $580, that month will not be counted as PERA service credit.
Do leave benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act need to be paid out in the event of a furlough or layoff?
No, employees are not entitled to a payout of these leave benefits. If the employee leaves the position, the university furloughs the employee, or lays them off.
Can furloughed employees take outside employment while on leave?
Furloughed employees have the right to seek new employment, so some may consider taking temporary jobs while on furlough. Any earnings may impact unemployment benefits.
Does the university have to pay employees their leave balances when it furloughs them?
No. If the employer plans to bring its employees back to work, they are not required to pay PTO or vacation pay.
Can an employee authorized for work through an H-1B visa participate in a mandatory furlough?
The United States Department of Labor Regulations (20 CFR 655.731) do not allow the wages of these employees to be reduced through a mandatory furlough. They can only participate in a voluntary unpaid leave as long as it is not tied to the employer’s financial situation.
I make $60,000 or more but did not receive a furlough letter. Am I required to take a furlough day?
All employees who are expected to take either a full or half day furlough will be notified via email. Your furlough notice email will state how many hours you are required to take. If you are a staff member who believes you should have received a furlough notice and do not receive one prior to June 15th, please contact HR via email@example.com. Faculty furlough notices will be sent closer to the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester.
How will my paychecks be affected by an intermittent furlough?
Your pay will be reduced during the pay period the furlough days are taken by the amount of furlough you are required to take.
If you were not required to take any furlough days in the month of May, that paycheck will not change. However, if you are required to take 1 day (8 hours) of furlough in the month of June, that paycheck will be reduced by 8 hours to reflect the 1 day of furlough you are required to take.
For staff, the cost of each furlough day can be calculated by multiplying the hourly rate of pay by the number of hours of furlough you are required to take on that paycheck.
Your hourly rate of pay is your annual salary divided by 2080.
For example, if your annual rate is $70,000, 70,000 divided by 2080 is $33.65. That is your hourly rate. Multiply your hourly rate by the number of furlough hours to get the cost of one furlough day. $33.65 multiplied by 8 is 269.2, which means the cost for one day is $269.20.
How will my paychecks be affected by a continuous furlough?
You will not be paid during a period of continuous furlough. You will receive pay for any hours worked prior to the start of your continuous furlough. Hours worked prior to your furlough should be recorded in My Leave and your timesheet submitted. On the start date for the continuous furlough, the employee will be placed on a leave of absence in the payroll system and will not need to submit timesheets in My Leave during the continuous furlough period.
If I worked a few days at the beginning of a month prior to a continuous furlough, and am unable to submit my timesheet, how will I be paid for these hours?
Overtime eligible or hourly employees should ensure that all hours worked are recorded on their My Leave calendar. HR will upload those hours and ensure the employee is paid for hours worked.
Overtime exempt employees do not need to take any action and will receive pay for the hours worked prior to the effective date of the continuous furlough. If sick or vacation time is used prior to the continuous furlough, that time should be recorded in My Leave.
May I split my required furlough hours into multiple days within the same month?
Furloughs are required to be taken in either full or half-day increments. If you are required to take 8 hours (one day) of furlough, you may take it in two half-day increments and record the leave as such in My Leave as long as the required number of furlough hours are taken each month. Please work with your supervisor to determine the schedule and increments you will take for your furlough.
How many furlough days am I required to take?
You will receive a notification indicating the number of furlough days you will be expected to take. If you are unsure, please consult with your supervisor.
What happens if I don’t take all of my required furlough days?
The required amount of furlough time will be deducted from your pay during each monthly pay period, even if you do not take all the required days. Because of this, it is to your advantage to take the furlough days as you are not legally allowed to work during times when you are not being paid.
Can I combine more than one furlough day to take a longer period of time off? For example, if I am required to take a half day, can I save the four hours from June to take a full day off in July?
No. Employees may not combine furlough hours to take a longer period of time off. Employees should take exactly the required number of furlough hours each month and record the date on which they were taken in My Leave.
With supervisor approval, employees who are only required to take a half day of furlough may combine the furlough hours with a half day of vacation time in order to take a full day off.
How do I schedule my furlough days?
Furlough days should be scheduled with your supervisor like vacation days, based on your preference and the operational needs of your work unit and entered into your My Leave calendar using the Furlough Leave reason.
You can use furlough days for any of your regularly scheduled workdays with supervisor approval, including Saturdays or Sundays if you are normally scheduled to work on weekends.
I am a grant, gift or auxiliary funded employee and received a furlough letter. Does my funding exempt me from being subject to the furlough?
No. Funding source does not exempt an employee from the furlough requirement unless they are on a grant which explicitly states that a furlough is impermissible.
Does my furlough impact my additional pay or other temporary appointments such as lecturer appointments or faculty secondary administrative appointments?
No. The furlough will be applied only to your base salary and does not impact additional pay or other temporary appointments.