Furlough Information

Furlough Information for Employees 

Updated June 25, 2020, 3:59 p.m. 

The University of Wisconsin-Superior is implementing intermittent furloughs for all employees beginning July 1, 2020. The furloughs are a result of revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes expected changes in enrollment, housing and dining and other fee refunds, along with losses from other revenue sources.  

Under the intermittent furlough plan, every UW-Superior employee will forfeit one paid day per two-week pay period beginning July 1, 2020. This equates to 13 days for 12-month employees, and 9 days for 9-month employees.  

If the furlough were to extend over all three periods listed below, it would save the university approximately $1.8 million. 

  • The initial furlough will begin on July 1, 2020 and run through December 31, 2020. 
  • A second furlough period could begin on January 1, 2021 and run through May 31, 2021. 
  • A third furlough period could begin on June 1, 2021 and run through June 30, 2021.
  • The imposition of the second and third furlough will be reassessed after the 10-day count of student enrollments in each semester. However, should the worst case materialize, then this plan will need to be reassessed before those dates and additional measures may be necessary.

Chancellor Wachter is voluntarily taking a 15% reduction in pay over the same period. All Vice Chancellors are taking a 10% pay reduction over the same period. 

Employees will also given the option of opting into voluntary furloughs beginning immediately and lasting through June 2020.  

If you have any questions, please contact Human Resources at hr@uwsuper.edu.


Resources


 

General Questions Expand All

What is a furlough? How is this different than a layoff?

Furloughs are unpaid leave periods that allow employees to keep benefits such as health insurance and vacation and sick leave accrual, according to the announcement. They also preserve employees’ jobs so they can return to them in the future. 

A layoff is a termination of employment with reappointment rights. 

Is the furlough a reduction in workload or simply a pay cut? 

The furlough is a salary reduction and a reduction in workload. Employees will be paid 9.8% less and will work with their supervisor to determine appropriate means of reducing their workload. 

For some employees, it may simply mean taking unpaid time off and extending the time it takes to complete normal job tasks. For others it may be temporarily reducing some of the expected tasks.  Employees should consult with their supervisor for clarification and direction. 

Will this affect all employees, including the chancellor, vice chancellors, and other members of chancellor’s staff?

This will impact all UW-Superior employees.

Chancellor Wachter and all Vice Chancellors will be taking a pay reduction in lieu of an intermittent furlough. All other employees are included in the intermittent furlough.  

 

How do furloughs affect my benefits including health care and retirement?

The 9.8% workforce-wide furlough will have minimal impacts on employees benefits. Please review the UW System Furlough Benefit FAQs for more information.

Can furloughed employees apply for unemployment?

Furloughed employees will be able to apply for unemployment checks if they lose more than eight hours in a 40-hour work week and earn less than $500 in that week. 

How long will the furloughs last?

  • The initial furlough will begin on July 1, 2020 and run through December 31, 2020. 
  • A second furlough period could begin on January 1, 2021 and run through May 31, 2021. 
  • A third furlough period could begin on June 1, 2021 and run through June 30, 2021.
  • The imposition of the second and third furlough will be reassessed after the 10-day count of student enrollments in each semester. However, should the worst case materialize, then this plan will need to be reassessed before those dates and additional measures may be necessary.
  • There are no particular mandatory furlough days.

Could a faculty or instructional staff member request and receive a voluntary FTE reduction?  If so, would health benefits be preserved?

Faculty: No 

Instructional Academic Staff: Possibly

This type of furlough assignment is termed a Temporary Workload Reduction (TWR) and would reduce the FTE percentage of an employee’s appointment for a continuous period of time with a defined start and end date. These type of furlough assignments are only authorized for Academic Staff and University Staff members. 

Please contact Human Resources if you're interested in learning more about voluntary FTE reductions. 

How to Enter Furlough Leave for Payroll Expand All

For employees who are paid monthly

Timesheet entry is required to decrease monthly salary. Timesheets need to be submitted for all employees for the week that furlough leave is being taken.

To access timesheets:

  • Navigate to your MyUW portal
  • Select the Time and Absence tile
  • Click the Timesheet button at the top of the page
  • In the timesheet, use FUREG in the Time/Absence Code dropdown for the hours you worked the week of your furlough day.
  • To identify your furlough day, use FURLM in the Time/Absence Code dropdown.
  • Enter the number of hours worked each day in the quantity field. Do not enter information in the Shift In/Break Out/Break In/Shift Out columns. 

timesheet screenshot

It is suggested that you submit your entries once the furlough leave is approved by your supervisor, ahead of time. For your salary to be reduced by unpaid furlough taken during the month, all furlough leave (and hours worked) must be reported and approved before the payroll confirms each month.  Any furlough leave approved after the monthly payroll has processed will be reduced from your next month’s check.

You will still need to request absences for all other leave (sick, vacation, personal, etc.) as you normally would. 

For more information, please refer to UW-Shared Services' monthly furlough timesheet entry document

For employees who are paid bi-weekly

Timesheet entry is required to decrease bi-weekly salary. Timesheets need to be submitted for all employees for the week that furlough leave is being taken.

To access timesheets:

  • Navigate to your MyUW portal
  • Select the Time and Absence tile
  • Click the Timesheet button at the top of the page
  • In the timesheet, use FUREG in the Time/Absence Code dropdown for the hours you worked the week of your furlough day.
  • To identify your furlough day, use FURLM in the Time/Absence Code dropdown.

latest hourly timesheet

It is suggested that you submit your entries once the furlough leave is approved by your supervisor, ahead of time. For your salary to be reduced by unpaid furlough taken during the month, all furlough leave (and hours worked) must be reported and approved before the payroll confirms each month.  Any furlough leave approved after the monthly payroll has processed will be reduced from your next month’s check.

You will still need to request absences for all other leave (sick, vacation, personal, etc.) as you normally would. 

For more information, please refer to UW-Shared Services' biweekly furlough timesheet entry document

 

University Finances Expand All

Will the furloughs cover the projected losses? How much savings will be realized through the furloughs?

At this time, we do not know what our total losses in tuition and other revenues may be; however, we estimate that a maximum period of furloughs could save the campus approximately $1.8 million in expenditures against its operating budget.  

 

Are there other steps UW-Superior is taking to address the institution's financial health?

The campus is asking departments reduce their spending on supplies and materials. We are also exploring ways that we can be more flexible with our fund balances given the emergency situation. We are trying to be cautious and thoughtful in our work and analysis. 

Workload, Contracts, Appointments, Salary, Promotions and Tenure Expand All

How might the scenarios affect promotions, tenure, and associated salary increases?

At the administrative level, furloughs may affect the review process due to possible impacts on employee workload. All reviews for annual review, retention, tenure, promotion, and post-tenure should explicitly consider and take into account in the assessment that we are in unprecedented times and that normal work has been significantly disrupted.  

Nothing like this has happened in our lives and the situation should not be held against our instructional community. Yet, teaching quality must remain high, and we expect progress towards service and scholarship for all faculty and instructional staff as appropriate. We also acknowledge and understand that accomplishments may be reduced in a manner consistent with the furlough situation.  We also acknowledge this is a rapidly evolving situation and should the fiscal realities of COVID-19 require a pause or a change in any review processes, we would communicate as quickly and clearly as possible any implications.

How will furloughs affect faculty workloads in terms of teaching, research, or scholarship?

At UW-Superior, our instructor community and administration agree our first priority is to our students, thus our expectation is that the student course experience, learning outcomes, and advising will be maintained despite furloughs. Instructors should plan for all course periods to meet as normally scheduled and that all students will be advised as normal. Furlough days, or portions of days, should be taken at times that do not overlap with scheduled course periods.

To a large extent, you can use your professional judgement to decide how to adjust the remainder of your workload in ways that will minimize the impact on instruction. Below, we list a few examples of potential workload reductions in areas of scholarship and service that you may use to best match your individual preferences and needs. 

  • Reductions of weekly office hours from the minimum of 5 hours to a minimum of 3 hours
  • Potential reduced meeting frequency for committees and other work groups
  • Potential reduced scholarship at the discretion of the faculty member
    • Reduced numbers of publications, presentations, performances during the furlough period
    • Delayed submission of manuscripts
    • Delay field work or gathering of qualitative and quantitative information/data

What if I am working less than 100% full-time? For example, what if I am in an 80% appointment working 4 days or 32 hours a week?

Employees in positions less than 100% will also receive a 9.8% reduction in salary. To determine the number of furlough hours taken every two weeks, take hours worked per week and multiply by 9.8%; thus, an employee working 32 hours per week would be required to take 6.3 hours of furlough every two weeks. Employees in less than 100% positions should work with HR to determine the appropriate calculation of furlough hours. 

What if I am working in a split appointment, for example, 50% in one unit and 50% in another?

Some individuals on campus are in split appointments, having at least two positions with potentially different contract periods, job duties, compensation, percent workload, etc. For these individuals, the furlough will be applied separately to each appointment in direct proportion to the respective percent effort in each. Employees with split appointments can consult with HR for assistance. 

Will summer course contracts be reduced after furloughs begin July 1?

No. All course instruction contracts for Summer 2020 will be honored in full. 

Will stipend or overload contracts for course instruction be affected by furloughs?

No. All lump-sum contracts, including adjunct course instruction and stipend/overload contracts, will be honored in full for Summer and Fall 2020.  

Will department chairperson summer contracts be affected by furloughs?

No, department chairperson summer contracts will not be affected by the furlough. UW-Superior will honor in full any lump sum contract such as those received in by department chairpersons.

Scheduling Furlough Days Expand All

How will I select my furlough days?

Furlough days should be decided upon by mutual agreement of the employee and their supervisor. Note that full-time employees can use half-day (4 hour) furloughs as an option (prorated for part-time employees, as noted above). For these half-days, a total of 4 hours is taken for the day, although the hours do not need to be consecutive. For example, an employee could use 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon to total 4 furlough hours in a day.  

Can we use the Thanksgiving week or the week after Finals as part of the furlough?

No. Per UW System Interim Furlough policy, faculty are only permitted to take intermittent day furloughs 

Will the academic year be shortened to accomplish required furlough days?

No. Faculty and instructional staff will take required furloughs on non-instructional days or half-days.

Other Scenarios Expand All

How will furloughs be handled for those employees who teach five-days per week?

Such individuals will account for furloughs in half-day increments during a time when they are not providing instruction.

May faculty or instructional staff work during a furlough?

Faculty and instructional staff may not perform instruction or university service during a furlough day or half-day. They may work on their own scholarship but should not come on to campus.

Are other non-instructional overload or similar payments subject to furlough?

No. Only the first 100% of an appointment should be subject to a furlough.

Why are H-1B and E-3 employees not subject to furloughs?

The federal government requires that an employer agree to pay a foreign national on H-1B or E-3 visa status on a full-time basis even at times when there is no work to do. 

How do furloughs affect student employees?

Not at all. Student employees are exempt from furloughs.