Berkeleyan

Campus proposes furlough plan

Mandatory closure days to be taken as furlough by participating staff and faculty employees

| 26 August 2009

Adding specificity to a systemwide furlough plan that UC President Mark Yudof has called "hybrid and flexible," the dates of 11 furlough days to be taken by nearly all Berkeley employees during the 2009-10 academic year have been proposed by campus officials.

The 11 "mandatory closure days" identified as least detrimental to all affected parties — including the campus’s 35,000 students — will fall close to existing holiday periods, extending during winter and spring breaks seven days in the winter ( Dec. 23, 28, 29, 30, and Jan. 4, 5, and 6) and four days in the spring (March 22 through 25).

Periods of campus closure will thus extend from Dec. 23, 2009, through Jan. 6, 2010, including the regular Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and from March 22 through 26, 2010, a full week including the March 26 Cesar Chavez Day holiday.

Under the plan, employees participating in the furlough program — at present, all staff and faculty who are not represented by a union — would take the mandatory closure days as furlough days, meeting 11 days of their required furloughs. Employees who must take additional furlough days beyond the 11 campus closure days to meet their required salary reduction amount should take the remaining furlough days as they accrue, as determined by supervisors based on the needs of their unit. All furlough days must be used by Aug. 31, 2010.

How represented employees will participate in the program is still being determined through collective bargaining.

Also, some campus units may do work that requires them to remain open during the campus closure periods. Employees in those units should work with supervisors to take their furlough days as they are accrued.

Yudof announced the framework of the furlough plan, later approved by the UC Regents at their July meeting, as part of the UC Office of the President’s multi-pronged approach to dealing with the substantial budget shortfall caused by a sharp dropoff in state support for higher education. The University of California will re¬ceive $813 million less from the state in 2009-10 than it did the previous year, a decline of 20 percent.

Significant savings are being realized through furloughs — some $184 million systemwide, making up just short of one-quarter of the state budget shortfall. The furloughs reduce employees’ work time and pay between 4 and 10 percent, on a graduated scale, with the number of furlough days and resulting percentage pay cut increasing for higher paid employees.

The salary reduction corresponding to the furloughs will be spread out evenly over 12 months, regardless of when the mandated campus closure days occur.

Information on campus closures, furloughs, and impacts for employees participating in the START program is available online at Budget Central (newscenter.berkeley.edu/budget), as well as in the Aug. 20 letter from Vice Chancellor for Administration Nathan Brostrom, a set of FAQs, and a "Furlough Plan at a Glance" fact sheet from UC Berkeley Human Resources.

Additional information is at UCOP.