UC Irvine Provisional Furlough/Salary Reduction FAQs
For Non-Represented Campus, School of Medicine, and College of Health Sciences Staff
The UC Office of the President (UCOP) web site is the authoritative resource regarding this program. These questions and answers are provided by the campus Human Resources Office to supplement those published on the UCOP web site.
- Is this a permanent pay reduction?
The Regents approved furlough/salary reductions for one year starting September 1, 2009. The Regents may take action to approve an extension of furlough/salary reduction measures at the end of this period.
- Is the deduction taken on my total salary or my base salary?
The salary rate is defined as the monthly salary the employee is appointed to receive under an academic, nonacademic, and/or administrative title payable through the University. This includes stipends. It does not include:
- overtime payments,
- shift or other differential pay,
- consulting fees or payments in lieu of private practice,
- general assistance "by-agreement" payments,
- compensation for extension teaching,
- any remuneration received which is in excess of 100% of full-time equivalent of your regular and normal position, and
- perquisites and any bonuses or other special compensation.
- What part of my salary will be used to determine my salary tier?
An employee's 100% salary rate, as of January 1, 2009 (or the hire date, if later), will be used to determine the salary tier.
- Do stipends and overtime impact your salary tier for furlough purposes?
Stipends are included in your salary rate, so they are used to determine your salary tier and are subject to salary reduction. Overtime is not counted for this purpose
- How will furlough days be accrued and usage tracked?
The Office of the President is programming the Payroll Personnel System to automatically accrue the appropriate number of furlough hours each month and a method for departmental payroll processors to report use of accrued furlough hours in the Payroll Personnel System. Departmental timesheets should be modified to allow employees to indicate use of furlough time separately from the use of sick leave and vacation hours.
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- How much flexibility will employees have in taking furlough days off? Will there be mandatory furlough days at UCI?
There are many complex factors that must be considered in determining the best implementation plan for this campus. Mandatory furlough days are one of the options being considered by campus leaders, but no final decisions have been made.
- Can employees take partial furlough days or must they take full days?
Generally, furlough time should be recorded the same as vacation – in one-day increments for exempt employees, ¼ hour increments for non-exempt employees.
- Will the vacation maximum be raised to account for furlough time?
Furlough accruals will accumulate in a separate bank from vacation hours, so no adjustment to vacation limits is planned at this time.
- Will people in positions that are split-funded have the same percentage of furlough assigned as others who are 19900 funding?
Academic and staff employees whose Included Compensation as defined in the Plan is 100 percent funded from federal, state, other government or private contracts, grants or cooperative agreements, because salary savings from these employees must remain within the contract, grant or cooperative agreement, and thus cannot contribute to increasing campus general fund resources. (Academic and staff employees whose salaries are partially funded from federal, state, other government or private contracts, grants or cooperative agreements are included. However, the campuses, working with the Office of the President, will determine by October 15, 2009, whether the University’s payroll systems and processes required to support the Plan can be modified such that, as to those employees, contract/grant funded salary can be prospectively excluded.)
- How will furlough balances be handled when an employee separates?
This matter is being reviewed by the Office of the President, but no guidance has been provided to campuses at this time.
- Are employees on individual employment contracts subject to the furlough program?
This will depend on the terms of the contract. The salary reduction and furlough plan excludes employees whose participation is precluded by law. Employees with contracts that cannot be changed unilaterally by the University will be asked for a voluntary salary reduction appropriate for their pay tier. If the employee agrees to accept the salary reduction and furlough, the Contract must be amended to reflect that the agreement is made by mutual consent as an addendum to contract which is signed and dated.
Human Resources will work with the Office of General Counsel to develop guidelines for how to handle these situations.
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- What happens if employees on individual employment contracts won’t agree to voluntarily take a pay reduction?
The university must honor the terms of the contract, but many contracts include an option to cancel a contract with required notice. This option could be exercised if circumstances indicate that would be an appropriate course of action. Managers must contact Human Resources prior to cancelling an employment contract.
- How is overtime calculated for people subject to the furlough?
Furlough days are not counted as time worked for overtime purposes in accordance with requirements of the FLSA.
- Will hardship exemptions be offered?
We currently have received no guidance on this topic from the Office of the President.
- Will hardship loans be available for staff having difficulty due to furlough pay cuts?
The university has an emergency loan program, and this possibility is being evaluated.
- How will the plan work for part-time employees?
Part-time employees will be allotted furlough days and have their salary reduced in proportion to their full-time equivalent salary. For example, an employee who has a 60% appointment and earns $60,000 per year ($100,000 full-time equivalent) is within Salary Tier 5 that allots 21 furlough days and an 8% salary reduction, so the employee will receive 12.6 furlough days and a $4,800 salary reduction (8% of $60,000).
- If an employee is appointed at 50% time, will they lose their benefits when the furlough is implemented?
No, the program was designed to ensure continuance of benefits eligibility and retirement service credit at the individual’s pre-furlough rate.
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- If an employee is currently working at a reduced percentage, but is not on START, can they increase their percentage to offset the furlough deduction?
No, the intent of the program is to generate salary savings. Allowing such an action undermines the principle of shared sacrifice and produces localized inequities among departmental staff.
- Are new hires subject to the furlough program?
The employees hired into positions that are subject to the salary reduction and furlough plan will participate in the program. For guidance on how to communicate this to candidates, please refer to the sample offer letters on the employment services SNAP page or contact your Human Resources employment representative.
- How do furloughs impact 9/80 or other alternate work schedules?
Furlough hours are a separate bank of hours that must be used within the 12-month period of the program. The furlough program does not directly impact alternate work schedules. However, alternate work schedules are a privilege, not a right of employees. Given the severity of the budget crisis, and the potential impact off that additional days off may have on operations, managers may have the need to cancel alternate schedules for some or all employees.
- How does this program impact rehired retirees?
Rehired retirees are expected to participate in the program if they hold positions that are part of the salary reduction and furlough plan. Their pay will be reduced and furlough time will be accrued in a manner consistent with other employees in similar personnel programs, appointment types, and appointment percentages.
- Will the furlough program impact severance payments if employees are laid off?
No, severance payments will be based on the employee’s pre-salary reduction rate of pay.
- If an employee separates, will the amount of pay received for the vacation pay-off be reduced because of the furlough program?
There should be no impact on the vacation pay-off (terminal vacation pay) because the two banks of hours are defined and handled separately.
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- Will the settlement payments to VSIP participants be impacted by the furlough pay reduction?
No, the VSIP settlement payments will be based on the employee’s pre-salary-reduction rate of pay.
- How does this program impact represented employees?
Existing rights under law or contract will be used to implement the plan. Where bargaining is required, the University will bargain in good faith so as to avoid implementing layoffs to the greatest extent possible.
- Will non-represented employees’ salary be reduced even if the represented employees don’t participate?
Yes, all employees identified as being subject to the salary reduction and furlough plan will be required to participate in the program.