UW−Madison Guidelines: Furloughs, Work-Share Program, Reassignments and Leave Provisions
UW−Madison employees have a strong tradition of working together as a community to address challenging circumstances. Our current situation requires that we implement short-term, cost-saving measures to address the fiscal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These measures include a campus-wide furlough requirement, Work-Share program, Position-Specific Furloughs, and reassignments. This document provides an overview of these measures, as well as leave provisions in the revised COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Policy. Additional information for employees, including frequently asked questions (FAQs), is available at hr.wisc.edu/covid19/furlough.
Most employees will take unpaid furlough time between May 15 and October 31, 2020. Nine-month (C-basis) employees will take unpaid furlough time between August 17 and October 31, 2020.*
Amount of Furlough Time
The number of furlough days is based on an employee’s annual pay rate:
|Annual Pay Rate||12-Month Appt. Furlough Days||9-Month Appt. Furlough Days|
|Less than $50,000||3||2|
|$50,000 – $80,000||4||3|
|More than $150,000||6||5|
* If a 9-month (C-basis) employee is unable to use all of their furlough time by October 31, 2020, they will be allowed to carry over their furlough obligation and take furlough time in November or December 2020.
Each furlough day equals 8 hours of leave without pay (e.g., 4 days of furlough equals 32 hours).
For employees on 9-month appointments, the number of required furlough days in the chart is designed so that these employees lose about the same amount of wages as those at their income level on 12-month appointments.
For part-time employees, the amount of furlough time is prorated by the percentage of the employee’s appointment (% FTE or full-time equivalency). The number of furlough hours is calculated using a three-step process: (1) determine the number of furlough days assigned to the annual pay rate, without adjusting for part-time; (2) multiply the number of furlough days by the percentage of the employee’s appointment (% FTE); and (3) convert the number of prorated furlough days to hours by multiplying the number of days by 8 and rounding to the nearest whole hour. Examples of this calculation are available at: hr.wisc.edu/covid19/furlough.
For employees with multiple positions at UW−Madison, the amount of furlough time is calculated for each position. The amount of furlough time is calculated using a four-step process: (1) for each position, determine the number of furlough days assigned to the annual pay rate, without adjusting for part-time; (2) for each position, multiply the number of furlough days by the percentage of the employee’s appointment (% FTE); (3) for each position, convert the number of prorated furlough days to hours by multiplying the number of days by 8 and rounding to the nearest whole hour; and (4) add the number of furlough hours for each position together, which equals the total number of furlough hours the employee will be required to take. An example of this calculation is available at: hr.wisc.edu/covid19/furlough.
The Campus-Wide Furlough does not apply to any of the following:
- Foreign workers on H-1B or E-3 work authorization. (The federal government requires that UW−Madison pay foreign nationals on H-1B or E-3 visa status on a full-time basis even at times when there is no work to do.)
- Student assistants and student help employees
- Post-degree training appointments (e.g., postdocs)
- Leadership who take a voluntary salary reduction
- Non-FTE appointments (e.g., temporary employees, academic staff hourly, and lump sum appointments)
- Employees on a Work-Share program or Position-Specific Furlough
Designating and Reporting Furlough Time
Employees will designate their furlough time using the same scheduling and approval process they use when taking vacation leave. In some circumstances, divisions or work units may designate certain days on which all staff will take furloughs.
Employees are required to report their furlough time. Reporting requirements vary depending on employee classification. Detailed instructions are available online on how to report furlough time. Furlough time will be reported under the Time and Absence module in MyUW.
How an employee’s pay is reduced differs based on employee classification.
Some employees will have their pay reduced in equal amounts over the specified furlough period, regardless of when the furlough leave is actually taken. (The furlough period is May 15–October 31, 2020 for those with 12-month appointments, and August 17–October 31, 2020 for those with 9-month appointments.) Employee classifications that will have pay reduced in equal amounts over the furlough period include:
- Instructional Academic Staff
- University Staff Non-Exempt (hourly employees)
- Academic Staff Non-Exempt (hourly employees)
Other employees will have their pay reduced during any pay period in which furlough time is taken. These employees will also report all hours worked during the week of the pay period in which furlough is used. Employee classifications that will have pay reduced during any pay period in which furlough time is taken include:
- Non-instructional Academic Staff (Exempt) (salaried employees)
- University Staff Exempt (salaried employees)
- Limited Employees
- Trades/Craft Workers
Employees may not use vacation, banked, sick, or personal leave on a furlough day to offset the unpaid leave.
During the Campus-Wide Furlough, employees will maintain their employment as UW−Madison employees.
Campus work units may implement a Work-Share program that involves the reduction of employees’ work hours beginning no earlier than May 15, extending as long as until October 31, 2020. The Work-Share program allows employers to reduce employee hours by ten to sixty percent with the employee eligible to apply for unemployment benefits for lost wages. With the recent increased federal funding for unemployment insurance benefits because of COVID-19, many employees in this situation could receive supplemental unemployment benefits until the end of July 2020. Use of this program allows the university to retain skilled employees during times of work slowdown or budget emergencies by reducing work hours, while allowing employees to supplement lost wages with unemployment benefits.
Employees placed in the Work-Share program will not be included in the Campus-wide Furloughs identified above, and they will maintain their employment as UW−Madison employees.
Only a few units with substantial work reductions that affect a large number of their staff will use the Work-Share program. The following options will be used if other campus work units need to adjust employees’ hours because of inability to work remotely, lack of work, or financial circumstances.
Supervisors may reassign employees to perform work to meet the university’s operational needs or ensure the employee is working to meet the number of hours for their appointment/position. Reassignment may involve work that is not part of the employee’s regular functions and/or it may be located away from their current work unit. In addition, employees may be reassigned to cover UW–Madison or State of Wisconsin staffing needs to provide essential services. Wherever possible, reassignments should follow the regular employee category and FLSA status. For example, a university staff nonexempt employee would be eligible for reassignment to another university staff nonexempt position and/or work and avoid a reassignment that would change the employee’s category and/or FLSA status.
Reassignments will be reasonably made and will consider current campus emergency circumstances, university business operational needs or State of Wisconsin needs, and the employee’s skills and abilities to the extent possible under the circumstances.
Campus work units may place individual employees on a mandatory unpaid leave of absence (continuous furlough) due to lack of work or if an employee cannot work remotely. Operational needs will determine whether the reduction is for a part or all of the employee’s normal work schedule, and how long the furlough will last.
Employees may not use vacation, banked, sick or personal leave to offset a Position-Specific Furlough but will be able to apply for unemployment benefits. Based on increased federal funding, affected employees could receive supplemental unemployment benefits until the end of July 2020.
Employees placed in Position-Specific Furloughs will not be included in the Campus-wide Furloughs identified above. Affected employees will continue to maintain their employment as UW−Madison employees.
Voluntary Leave without Pay
Employees can also work with their supervisor to identify options to voluntarily go on leave without pay. Timeframes can vary including part-time or full-time options for specific periods of time. Employees who elect voluntary leave without pay may be included in the Campus-wide Furloughs identified above, if their voluntary leave without pay is less than their required furlough obligation, and they may be subject to other furlough programs or cost-saving measures.
Employees should consult with the human resources (HR) department in their school, college, or division about the effect of a leave of absence on employee benefits and the ability to qualify for unemployment benefits.
Employees who are affected by COVID-19 may qualify for paid leave under the federal program called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) until December 31, 2020.
UW−Madison COVID-19 paid leave is no longer available. It was provided starting in mid-March for employees not able to work remotely or who could not work for reasons related to COVID-19, but it expired on May 15, 2020.
See the revised COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Policy for more information.
- Information on furloughs, Work-Share program, reassignment, leave, and unemployment benefits, including overviews and FAQs, is available at hr.wisc.edu/covid19/furlough.
- If you have questions or need assistance, please contact: