HR Provides Clarification on Commonwealth’s Furlough Plan

Posted: September 29, 2009 at 12:03 am, Last Updated: September 28, 2009 at 8:09 pm

In response to questions raised by Mason and other institutions of higher education, Human Resources and Payroll has received some clarification from the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) regarding the furlough day included in the governor’s recently announced budget reduction plan.

Based upon this information, Mason has been advised that all salaried faculty and staff at Mason will be subject to the furlough. Salaried employees include positions funded by the university and state as well as those whose positions are funded entirely by grants or other special funding sources (e.g., auxiliary services).

Wage employees, adjunct professors, GRAs and GTAs are not subject to the furlough; however, the state requires agencies, including Mason, to manage wage hours to meet budget requirements.

A furlough day is considered to be 8 hours and will be pro-rated for faculty and staff members who are in positions that are less than 1.0 FTE. While the governor specified a furlough day in his plan, the timeframe and implementation for the furlough at Mason have not yet been determined.

Institutions of higher education have been specifically advised that the furlough should be managed so as not to cause a disruption in classes. Some additional points about the furlough have been addressed and are described below. Because of the complexity of furlough planning, there are still a number of questions remaining. As information becomes available, HR will continue to share it with the Mason community. Your patience and forbearance throughout this process are greatly appreciated.

Furlough Points

  • Both exempt and non-exempt employees will have to be paid at time and one-half for extra hours worked over 40 hours in the furlough week. The furlough day does not count toward hours worked.
  • Exceptions to state policies have been made so there will be no loss to leave accrual for faculty and staff whose salaries are reduced solely as a result of the furlough, and there will be no impact to holiday pay if the Mason furlough day is the workday before or after a holiday.
  • Mason has an assurance from DHRM that there will be no impact to benefits.
  • Agencies, including Mason, must provide a 30-day advance notice of the furlough. Mason will provide as much lead time as possible beyond 30 days so that faculty and staff members can make plans.
  • Proposed alternative furlough plans must be approved by the state; therefore units and departments cannot develop furlough plans on their own. Mason will provide additional guidance on the furlough plan as soon as possible.
  • The furlough at Mason is likely to be in May 2010.

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