Universities Announce Furloughs and Salary Reductions

The University of Arizona, The University of Wisconsin system, and Valparaiso University have all announced they will be instituting furloughs—mandatory unpaid days off from work—or salary reductions for at least some of their employees.

The measures are prompted by financial difficulties the schools face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University of Arizona is projecting a loss of up to $250 million, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Its plan, announced last Friday, involves furloughs for those making up to $150,000:

and pay cuts for those making more:

The furloughs and pay cuts begin on May 11, 2020 and go until June 30, 2021.

Meanwhile, also on Friday, the president of the University of Wisconsin System, Ray Cross, announced in a letter that the “preliminary cost estimates for the spring semester alone are $168 million across the System” and that furloughs for administrative employees would be part of the plan to address this cost:

Starting in May, we will be instituting a one-day furlough per month for all UWSA employees—and that includes UW-Shared Services and UW Extended Campus—to run through June 2021. That is, for a period of 14 months. Supervisors will be working with employees to come up with a plan to implement these furloughs with the least disruption.

According to Wisconsin Public Radio, the announced furlough will save the UW system $3 million, but that is just a fraction of what will be needed to make up for losses at all of the specific campuses:

UW-Madison announced projected losses this spring of $100 million. The next highest deficit is at UW-Milwaukee, which projects losses of more than $9 million. The smallest projected deficit is just more than $1 million at UW-Superior.

The specific UW campuses will likely institute their own furloughs. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee announced a plan to do so:

We will most likely implement a furlough plan for all employees beginning July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. We are currently looking at eight furlough days for 12-month employees, with six furlough days for 9-month employees. We will also be requiring a higher number of furlough days for higher-income, 12-month employees.

Valparaiso University, a private university in Indiana, also announced furloughs. According to The Times of Northwest Indiana (via Inside Higher Ed),

The university will furlough 154 full-time employees and 46 part-time employees… Staff members not furloughed and earning at or above $48,000 annually will see a temporary salary reduction on a scale beginning at 2% and increasing the more an employee earns. Other faculty will be encouraged to take voluntary pay cuts that match the scale of reductions taken by identified staff members. VU President Mark Heckler has voluntarily taken a 30% salary reduction.

If you know of similar plans in the works at other schools, please let us know in the comments.

(Thanks to Patrick Lin for bringing these developments to my attention in comments last Friday on this related post.)

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