The university is offering two voluntary programs for staff to help offset revenue losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The programs, a temporary furlough and a temporary reduction in hours, are part of other cost-saving measures announced Monday.
Staff with regular, non-temporary appointments in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Flint and Michigan Medicine are eligible. Requests must be made between April 27, 2020 and May 8, 2020.
In each case, employees would be able to return to their regular positions and hours at the end of the period.
Details of the Temporary Furlough Program
Furloughs are temporary leaves that do not lead to termination. They can be offered by a unit to employees or requested by individual employees. In both cases, participation is voluntary and the unit must approve it. Areas performing critical operations can opt out of the program.
During the temporary furlough period, the staff member:
- does no work for the unit and receives no pay;
- remains a university employee;
- is eligible to file for unemployment compensation;
- does receive continued university benefits;
- does continue to receive the university contribution toward their benefit plans (health, dental, long-term disability, life), and the university also will pay the monthly employee contribution for health insurance; and
- retains accrued vacation and sick time (additional time will not accrue)
The employee’s regular available paid time off balances will be maintained. Emergency COVID-PTO paid time off will no longer be available to those who take a furlough.
Details of Temporary Reduction in Hours
Staff or units may request a temporary reduction in hours (reduced effort). Staff with effort that remains at or above 50 percent retain benefits and university contributions and return to their previous level of effort on a pre-arranged date.
Staff members must receive unit approval for temporary reduction of hours.
During the temporary period of reduced hours, the staff member:
- reduces weekly work hours (effort) by 15 to 45 percent (as agreed upon);
- continues benefits (with appointments remaining at or above 50% effort) at the same premium rates paid before reducing hours;
- accrues vacation or PTO at reduced effort;
- receives other paid-time-off benefits prorated to the reduced effort (holidays, funeral days, etc.)
- returns to their regular effort after 60 to 120 days (on the return date approved by the unit)
Eligibility for State Unemployment
Employees participating in these programs may choose to file a claim for state unemployment compensation. The university will not contest the claim as long as the employee did not decline an offer to be redeployed to another position.
Eligibility for and amount of unemployment benefits are determined by the state of Michigan. The current maximum state weekly benefit is $362 and may include an additional weekly supplement of $600 from the Federal CARES Act through July 25, 2020.
Contributions to Benefits
Employees can maintain their university benefits if they participate in a temporary furlough or if they maintain at least a 50 percent appointment in a temporary reduction in hours.
The employee portion of the health care premium will be waived for the period of furlough and will not need to be paid upon return.
The employee will, however, be responsible for making up any contributions to dental, life, long-term disability, legal and vision plans. There will be no university contributions to the retirement savings plan during the period of furlough.