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Workforce-reduction measures are having an impact

07 May 2009

Preliminary figures to date are showing that the suite of campus workforce-reduction measures announced in March may be adding up to a hoped-for impact on Berkeley's budgetary bottom line.

Based on preliminary staff responses calculated at the end of April, total gross savings to the campus could exceed $15 million from a combination of voluntary reductions in work hours through the START program, the new Voluntary Separation Option (VSO), and effects of the staff hiring freeze implemented in early March.

The rough figure includes all savings from START participation implemented through March 31, the savings that would accrue if all current VSO applications were accepted, and the funds saved by canceling 90 recruitments when the hiring freeze was put in place.

The eventual net savings from the programs will likely be somewhat lower, since not all VSO applications will be approved, staff can elect to withdraw their VSO applications through May 22, and some exceptions to the hiring freeze have been requested. However, the total savings will also be augmented by the additional staff who have elected to begin START as of April 1.

To date, almost 300 employees are voluntarily reducing their time by at least 5 percent through START; of those, 76 began their participation as of April 1. In addition, as of last week 106 employees had applied to be considered for VSO; the application deadline is this Friday, May 8. Final decisions on those approved for the program will be made by June 5.

The focus of the workforce-reduction programs is to save money and diminish the number of layoffs that may be necessary in the future to address the campus budget shortfall brought on by the state budget crisis and sagging economy.

In addressing the budget situation and streamlining campus operations, there have been 70 staff layoffs since the beginning of this fiscal year, affecting more than a dozen units, particularly in the areas of parking and transportation, information technology, and printing serv-ices.

For more on the budget situation and workforce-reduction programs, visit Budget Central and click on "Resources for faculty & staff."