UCLA Frequently Asked Questions about Furlough/Salary Reduction Plan

The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the UC furlough/salary reduction plan and UCLA Winter Holiday Closure. The answers are subject to change as operational details are finalized. For more FAQs, visit the UCOP website in Related Information.

UCLA Winter Holiday Closure Plan Questions

1. What is the UCLA Winter Holiday Closure Plan for 2009-10?
The campus is scheduled to close for 16 days between Saturday, December 19, 2009, and Sunday, January 3, 2010, and will reopen on Monday, January 4, 2010. This period includes several University paid holidays (December 24, 25 and 31 and January 1). However, six days (December 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30, 2009) are not paid holidays and employees are encouraged to use them as furlough days to cover the time off. Staff employees and those academic employees who accrue vacation may use furlough days in combination with vacation time, earned compensatory time off, or leave without pay for these days.

Please note the following: 

  • For employees participating in the furlough plan, furlough days to cover the six days of unpaid time during the Winter Holiday Closure may be used in advance of accrual, as is also the case with vacation leave during the campus closure.
  • For those employees not participating in the furlough plan, either accrued vacation, compensatory time off, or leave without pay may be used for the unpaid days during the Winter Holiday Closure, as in previous years.
  • For represented employees, the requirements of the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA) will be observed.

During the planned break period, the UCLA Health System and essential-service facilities will continue to remain open. Deans, Vice Chancellors or Organization Heads to whom this responsibility has been delegated will need to determine if any facilities under their management will need to remain fully or partially open during the closure and arrange for appropriate staffing. These approval decisions need to be submitted to Facilities Management, with a copy to the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.

2. Am I allowed to use vacation days for the Winter Holiday Closure?
During the Winter Holiday Closure, employees subject to the furlough program are expected to use allocated furlough days, which may be used in advance of accrual for the closure period. If necessary to cover campus-mandated closure days, an employee can have a negative furlough accrual balance; however, the negative balance cannot exceed the total number of furlough days for the employee's salary band.

Employees who are not subject to the furlough program, and those subject to the furlough program who have an insufficient total number of furlough days to cover the campus closure periods, may use accrued vacation leave or leave without pay. For union-represented employees, implementation of the plan will be subject to collective bargaining agreements and all applicable laws.

3. Can I save furlough days I’ve accrued and take them when I want?
During the Winter Holiday Closure, employees subject to the furlough program are expected to use allocated furlough days. If an employee has additional furlough days beyond the number of campus closure days, the principle of the program is to take the time when it is accrued; supervisors may work with employees for exceptions.

All furlough days must be used during the Plan term. Furlough time that is not used during the Plan term will expire at the end of the Plan term and will not be carried forward. Using vacation days will not affect your salary reduction, which will be spread out evenly over each pay period for 12 consecutive months. Sick Leave and Administrative Leave provisions are not intended for this purpose and should not be used to cover the closure period.

4. What do I need to know regarding how to plan for the Winter Holiday Closure?

  • Use of Furlough - During the campus closure, employees subject to the furlough program are expected to use allocated furlough days, which may be used in advance of accrual for the closure period.
  • Use of Vacation - Employees who are not subject to the furlough program may use accrued vacation leave. Sick Leave and Administrative Leave provisions are not intended for this purpose and should not be used to cover the closure period.
  • Using Vacation before it is earned - Any employee who earns vacation leave and does not have enough accrued vacation leave may use vacation leave in advance of accrual to cover the days of closure. Departments should consult the relevant policy or labor contract for the personnel program that covers the affected employees.
  • Use of accrued CTO - Eligible non-exempt employees who are not subject to the furlough program and who have worked overtime may also use accrued compensatory time to cover the days of closure. Departments will want to have a Compensatory Time Off (CTO) agreement on file for any employee who will use accrued Compensatory Time for the closure. Information about CTO agreements for employees covered by labor agreements can be found at the following article, under the relevant contract.
  • Compensatory time off information for employees covered by PPSM can be found in Section 32-C-4 at the following web site:
    http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/employees/policies_employee_labor_relations/personnel_policies/spp32.html
  • Take Leave without Pay - Employees who are not subject to the furlough program may take Leave Without Pay. Managers will want to look closely at the impact of this action on part-time employees. For example, employees in half-time positions who take leave without pay may lose benefits eligibility and/or holiday pay. Part-time employees must be on pay status half the working hours of the month in order to receive holiday pay. That means that part-time employees must be on pay status (excludes holiday hours) for 92 hours in December and for 84 hours in January in order to receive holiday pay in those months.

General Questions

1. How will the furlough plan apply to employees on individual employment contracts?
Individual employment contracts will be revised consistent with provisions in current contracts governing compensation and changes in salary. The revision will reflect the application of the Furlough/Salary Reduction Plan for the period September 1, 2009, through August 31, 2010. The revision will be summarized in an amendment to the contract and signed by both the employee and the University.

2. How will the furlough plan affect 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 percent appointment and earns $60,000 per year ($100,000 full-time equivalent) is within Salary Band 5 that allots 21 furlough days and an 8 percent salary reduction, so the employee will receive 12.6 furlough days and a $4,800 salary reduction (8 percent of $60,000).

3. How will vacation and sick leave accruals and other benefits be impacted by the furlough plan?
The plan will use pre-furlough salaries to calculate UCRP benefits and to maintain the pre-furlough accrual of UCRP service credit so that UCRP benefits are not negatively impacted. In addition, the accrual of vacation and sick leave will not be reduced and health and welfare benefits (medical, dental, vision, life and disability) will not be impacted by the furlough/salary reduction plan. Monthly costs of insurance premiums and calculations of life and disability benefits will continue to be based on your full-time, unreduced salary rate. These protections are consistent with those provided in the START program.

4. Are union-represented employees subject to the furlough plan?
For union-represented employees, implementation of the plan is subject to collective bargaining agreements and all applicable laws. Discussions with union representatives regarding the university’s proposal that they adopt the plan have already begun. The university is prepared to discuss alternative proposals from the unions, so long as they yield the same or similar cash savings as the furlough plan adopted by the Regents.

5. Will I be allowed to change medical plans mid-year following implementation of the furlough plan?
No. There will be an opportunity to change medical plans for 2010 during Open Enrollment in November.

6. Can I add vacation leave to supplement my work schedule and avoid a salary reduction?
No. Vacation leave may only be taken as time off from regularly scheduled work periods. For example, an employee scheduled to work from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. cannot use vacation leave to cover the period from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. in order to supplement pay. The salary reduction is determined by your salary band and will be spread out evenly over each pay period for 12 consecutive months.

7. Must furloughs be taken as full days off or can they be taken in hourly increments?
For exempt employees, furlough time should be taken and recorded in one-day increments. If the employee has a non-standard time base (greater than or less than an 8 hour day), furlough time should still be taken and recorded in one-day increments based on the employee's time base. For example, an employee with a 10-hour scheduled day will receive 10 hours of furlough time; similarly, an employee with a 6-hour scheduled day will receive 6 hours of furlough time. For non-exempt employees, furlough time may be taken and recorded in ¼ hour increments.

Payroll Questions

1. When I leave, will all of my final pay (including vacation pay-out) be reduced by my furlough reduction? If my vacation payout is reduced, will it be based on my pre- or post-furlough rate? 
Terminal vacation will be paid out at the pre-furlough rate. Only regular pay is reduced.

2. Will the amount of payroll taxes that are withheld be calculated using the pre- or post-furlough rates?
Taxes are always calculated based on taxable gross earnings. As the furlough will reduce your wages, it will reduce your taxable gross accordingly.

3. If I change positions on campus and my earnings increase, will my furlough tier be re-calculated?
No.

4. Since the furlough amount is based on the same rate as my medical contribution, will the medical contribution tiers be changed next year so that they align with the furlough tiers? 
There is no plan to change medical contribution rates as this is a temporary reduction.

5. Will my pay reflect furlough days when they are taken, resulting in a smaller check after the winter break?
No. The salary reduction is split evenly over each pay period for 12 consecutive months although furlough days may be taken on an irregular schedule.

START Questions

1. Can you clarify which START savings must be returned to campus and which savings a department can keep?
The Chancellor will withdraw START savings for any centrally funded employees on START up to the level that would have been required for their salary band under the UC furlough program. Salary savings from the Voluntary Separation Option programs, the staff hiring freeze, and any START program savings above the required furlough schedule will remain in units. Example: for an employee who is on 10% START and is required to take a 6% salary reduction in the furlough program, the department would retain 4% of the salary savings.

As a reminder, START is a voluntary program made available to departmental employees and designed to be initiated by employees, not managers. Supervisors who require or direct their employees to apply for the START program solely to avoid the withdrawal of furlough-related salary savings from departmental budgets may have violated the START policy. As noted above, the START program will not serve as a means to avoid the withdrawal of savings equal to the furlough. Employees who believe they were required to participate in START and would like to opt out should be permitted to do so.

2. Will employees on START have to change their work schedule because of the extended Winter Holiday Closure?
START employees should work with their supervisors to revise their current work schedule in order to accommodate the campus-mandated closure days and the department's operational needs.

3. Will START be extended from June 30, 2010, to August 31, 2010?
There is no plan to extend START at this time.

4. How will we handle employees whose START percentage is less than or equal to the furlough percentage required under the Plan?
Employees who have a START percentage that is less than or equal to their furlough percentage will be moved to the furlough program.

5. How will we handle employees whose START percentage is greater than the furlough percentage required under the Plan?
Employees who have a START percentage greater than the furlough percentage will have the incremental difference entered as a START percentage.

EXAMPLE: Following is an example for an employee in the furlough program at a 7% salary reduction.

 

Before Furlough ProgramDuring Furlough Program
If 5% START participationEmployee will be moved to the furlough program at 7% and will no longer be on START.
If 10% START participationEmployee will be in the furlough program at 7% and in the START program at 3%.