The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is facing increased fiscal challenges. We are taking steps to become an institution that best serves the student population we currently have, maintains fiscal responsibility and preserves quality classroom and campus experiences. By acting now to stabilize and reshape our university, we will build ourselves new opportunities in the future. There is no good or preferable time to take this type of action. Causing this disruption to lives is difficult.
Below you will find information and resources to help navigate this difficult situation. This page will be updated frequently, so remember to check back often. Please contact the Office of Human Resources and Workforce Diversity with any questions you may have.
UWO Furlough Approach:
Intermittent furloughs will be implemented for all eligible employees effective September 10, 2023, through June 1, 2024. The number of furlough days will be assigned incrementally by annual salary bands below:
|Base Salary*||Number of Furlough Days Assigned||% Reduction from Bi-Weekly Salary|
*Base salary is calculated at 1.0 FTE. Instructions on how to prorate furlough days for part-time employees is below. Salary effective date is 8/28/23.
Intermittent Furlough Assignments
- Furlough assignments will be administrated by payroll smoothing. The smoothing process means base salary will be reduced across all designated pay periods to spread out the reduction. This means the percentage reduction will be calculated by the number of pay periods within the designated timeframe. Pay will not fluctuate when a furlough day is taken.
- Employees will have the option to select furlough dates upon supervisor and/or Department Chair approval.
- Timesheet entry is required for the week the furlough day is taken, unless the employee is classified as faculty or instructional academic staff. Employees with this exemption, will enter an absence for tracking, but is not required to complete a timesheet.
- A furlough assignment may be taken in full or half day increments that do not exceed one day in any two-week period.
- Employees with multiple appointments will be assigned furlough days based on each eligible position.
- Employees that are hired between September 2023 – May 2024, will be assigned a prorated amount of intermittent furlough days based on hire date. They will receive notification of the prorated intermittent furlough assignment after their contract is accepted.
Intermittent Furlough Assignments for Part-Time Employees
If you are a part-time employee (< 1.0 FTE), the amount of your furlough time is based on your actual salary, which is prorated by the percentage of your appointment (% FTE or full-time equivalency). This is calculated using a two-step process.
- Step 1: Determine your actual salary by taking your base salary (calculated at 1.0 FTE) and multiplying it times your % FTE. This will give you your actual salary.
- Step 2: Apply your actual salary to the furlough tiers to determine how many days of furlough you are assigned. (Note: Furlough days are in 8-hour increments)
Exclusions from Intermittent Furlough
The following appointments are excluded from the intermittent furlough:
- University Staff Temporary Employees
- Graduate Assistants
- Student hourly employees
- Employees paid lump sum
- Employees working under the terms of a work visa (such as H-1B or E-3)
- Employees who are grant-fund 50% or more
- Heating Plant Staff
- Any overtime eligible positions in the police department
- Employee approved to retire through the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Options Program (VRIOP) according to the following:
- Employees that submit their VRIOP material by September 8, 2023, will be exempt from all intermittent furlough assignments.
- Employees that submit between September 9, 2023 and September 15, 2023, will be assigned intermittent furlough for the Sep B pay period only.
- Employees that rescind their retirement will be assigned furlough starting with the pay period immediately following their rescind date.
Below is general information about furloughs that applies regardless of when a furlough is observed:
- Employees are not permitted to work when on an assigned furlough. Faculty may work on scholarship.
- Employees may not substitute paid leave such as personal, vacation, or sick leave for a furlough assignment.
- Division heads/deans shall work with supervisors and/or department chairs in their division to minimize negative operational impact when approving furlough assignment requests.
- Human Resources will formally notify all impacted individuals via employee email with a minimum seven (7) calendar days’ notice prior to the furlough start date.
- Employees will be provided information/resources regarding furlough reporting processes via the HR furlough website.
- Furloughs must not be used as a disciplinary measure nor as a substitute for a performance improvement plan. Also, they may not be based on any classification protected by law. Any employee on an approved leave (FMLA, LOA) is required to be treated equally regardless of leave status and is subjected to intermittent furloughs.
Institutional Realignment Plan
Learn more about UWO's plan to realign the institution.
If you have questions specific to furlough you may contact:
UWO Human Resources
Furlough Entry Tipsheets:
Please use the guides below to assist you in furlough reporting requirements and entry.
Enter Furlough Time on the Timesheet – Non-Instructional Academic Staff & Limited
Enter Furlough Time on the Timesheet – University Staff
Report Furlough Leave – Faculty or Instructional Academic Staff
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Below are of some of the common questions HR is receiving from employees. Please remember to check back often for updates.
Q: Can I still work on a day that has been designated as a furlough day?
A: No, an employee may not work on a day that is intended for furlough.
Q: How will New Hires be affected if starting after the Furlough is administered?
A: They will receive a furlough notification letter based on operational and financial considerations.
Q: Am I still eligible to use the Employee Assistance Program if I am on furlough?
A: Yes, we understand these are difficult times and encourage employees to utilize this program. More information can be found online – Username: SOWI.
Q: Can an employee whom is currently on FMLA be furloughed?
A: Yes, furlough hours would not count towards the annual FMLA bank.
Q: Can employees on “intermittent furlough” use vacation as normal planned vacation? (not to cover furlough time)
A: Yes, paid leave can be used with supervisor approval for all non-furlough days.
Q: When are furlough notification letters being sent to employees?
A: Employees that are assigned furlough will receive their letter on Friday, September 1, 2023. Their letter will be sent via e-mail from email@example.com. Employees that are hired or have furlough assigned after the initial letters are sent out will get a letter directly from the UW Oshkosh human resources staff. Employees who are not assigned furlough will not get a letter or e-mail.
Q: How often should I be observing furlough days?
A: Employees should try their best to spread out their furlough days evenly throughout the entire furlough period, which is 9/10/23 – 6/1/24. There are 19 pay periods during this timeframe. By the Jan B pay period, which is 1/14/24 – 1/27/24, employees should have observed around half of their furlough assignment. For example, if you are assigned 6 furlough days total, you should have observed and recorded 3 days of furlough by the end of Jan B pay period.
Q: Can I take all of my furlough days in the same week to get them over with?
A: No. You may take a maximum of one day per two-week pay period. Employees should also be spreading their furlough days throughout the entire furlough period of 9/10/23 – 6/1/24. Please see above.
Q: If I don’t observe a furlough day in a pay period, will my paycheck be the full amount?
A: No. Because we are using the payroll smoothing method, all paychecks for the dates in the furlough period will be reduced by the same percentage.
Q: Do I have to log my furlough days somewhere?
A: Yes, all employees must record their furlough in either their timesheet or their absence portal. Everyone except those with a teacher exemption must log furlough days on their timesheet. This includes employees who are normally exempt and do not report time in a timesheet.
Employees who have the teacher exemption will record their furlough time as an absence entry, just like they do for sick leave. These employees are identified in the FAQ below.
Q: Which employees are included in the teacher exemption and therefore enter leave as an absence?
A: The following employees and titles are included in the teacher exemption:
- All titles in the Faculty classification (assistant professor, associate professor, professor)
- All titles that are Instructional Academic Staff (lecturer, teaching assistant professor, clinical associate professor)
- Teacher in the Fox Childcare Center and Head Start program (early childhood education teacher, early childhood education development specialist, early childhood education associate director, family resource specialist)
- Athletics employees with a coach or assistant coach title
Q: What happens if my base salary or FTE changes during the furlough timeframe?
A: An employee’s initial furlough assignment will remain in effect even if they have a change in salary, FTE, or position. We understand it may appear this could benefit some who would have been moved into a higher tier and not benefit those who would have moved into a lower tier, but it is a neutral impact because the furlough assignment will still match the salary reduction through the payroll smoothing percentage.
Q: What happens if I forget to record a furlough day in my timesheet by the timekeeping deadline? (this does not include faculty and IAS, as they report furlough as a leave entry)
A: It is strongly recommended that employees record their furlough time as soon as it is approved by their supervisor but no later than the day they observe it. For payroll processing deadlines, furlough time must be recorded by the Monday following the end of the pay period in which it was observed. Employees will get locked out of their timesheet the following day. If they miss this deadline, it will be the responsibility of the employee’s time approver to enter the furlough hours on their behalf.
Q: Will furloughs impact my legal holiday pay?
A: Employees will still be eligible for legal holiday pay, even if they observe furlough the day before OR after the legal holiday. The only time an employee would lose their legal holiday pay would be if they had an unpaid absence the day before AND after the legal holiday.
Special Note Regarding MLK Day in 2024: Employees should not use a furlough day on both the Friday before and Tuesday after Martin Luther King Jr Day, which is January 15, 2024. Because that Friday and Tuesday are in 2 separate pay periods, they could do this, but they would lose their legal holiday pay then.
Q: How should I observe furlough if I am an instructional staff member?
A: Furloughs must be observed in a way that does not disrupt course offerings to students. This means that no classes or labs can be canceled to allow for furlough observation. If you are an instructional staff member and struggling with how to schedule your furlough days, you are encouraged to work with your department chair and dean’s office. It is suggested you use the pay periods that include time when classes are not in session to observe furlough as well.
Q: Will furlough days be assigned to those on an approved sabbatical?
A: Faculty that are approved for a full academic year sabbatical will be exempt from furlough. Faculty that are approved for a one semester only furlough will be assigned furlough.
Q: Can tenure/tenure-track faculty pursue scholarly (research) activity when on furlough?
A: Yes, this activity can be done while observing a furlough day.
Q: Do you have a suggestion for my out-of-office email or phone message?
A: I am currently out of the office on [day, date]. During this time, I will have no access to email or phone calls. I will respond to your message when I return on [day, date]. If you have an urgent matter, please contact [provide name of backup or department email and (if available) phone number].
Q: What will happen to my salary after the furlough period is over?
A: At the beginning of the June B pay period, June 2, 2024, the furlough reduction will be removed, and employees will return to their full base salary.
Q: What happens if my employment terminates during the furlough period?
A: Employees are expected to use their furlough evenly throughout the entire furlough period. If they leave employment during this time, they should have used an appropriate amount of furlough based on their initial assignment and prorated by their last day. The university will not be calculating salary owed back or withholding extra for employees who terminate during this timeframe. It will be the responsibility of the employee and their supervisor to ensure an appropriate amount of furlough has been observed and recorded before their last day worked.
Q: How is furlough impacted for those that are being laid off?
Employees impacted by layoff will have their furlough assignment removed and salary restored effective 10/22/23. This also means that their original furlough assignment will be prorated to apply to only the first 3 pay periods of the furlough program. Prorated amounts are as follows based on salary tier:
|Base Salary*||Furlough Days Originally Assigned||Prorated Number of Furlough Days|
|$46,000||$59,999||6||1/2 day (4 hours)|
|$33,000||$45,999||4||1/2 day (4 hours)|
If an employee has already observed and entered an appropriate amount of furlough, they do not need any further action. If an employee observed more furlough then they needed to, no additional money will come out and they should stop observing any more furlough. If an employee has not observed enough or any furlough yet, they should observe and record their prorated amount of furlough within the next couple of pay periods.
Q:For employees, who submit “No Leave Taken” reports, how does furlough impact that?
Employees will need to submit “no leave taken” even if they’ve taken furlough, as long as they’ve taken no sick leave, or any other kind of leave.