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Campus furlough program and proposed closure plan

| 20 August 2009

The furlough program adopted by the UC Regents at their July 2009 meeting is scheduled to begin on September 1. During the last few weeks there has been on-going consultation between the UC Office of the President, the faculty, and staff at each location about how best to implement the furlough program. Although there is a shared sense of urgency to resolve the many operational issues before September 1, we have taken time to ensure that our proposed plan is both fair to all those affected and efficient to administer.

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Furlough plan at a glance (PDF)

I know that you have questions and concerns about the impact of this program on your work schedule and your salary. Some details of the furlough program are still being worked out by the UC Office of the President and each campus. However, some decisions have been made, so at this time I would like to update you and provide clarity on several key questions.

Details of the furlough plans, including questions and answers, will be posted as they become available on the campus Human Resources website. Here are key points that we can confirm now.

What will happen and when

The Regents' plan specifies that beginning on September 1, employees who are subject to the furlough will begin to accrue a specified number of furlough days determined by their full-time salary rate, and will be subject to a corresponding reduction in pay beginning with their September salary. This reduction will be reflected in the paycheck received on October 1 for those paid monthly. For employees paid semi-monthly, the reduction will be reflected in the September 23 paycheck. For exclusively represented employees, the furlough plan is subject to collective bargaining.

To determine whether your position is subject to the furlough program and how many furlough days you will need to take, please see UCOP's Furlough Fact Sheet (PDF) and Frequently Asked Questions.

Campus closure dates

Each campus has been given the flexibility to make decisions about when closure days will be scheduled. Our campus has decided on a plan that consists of eleven mandatory closure days for all employees who are subject to the program, plus additional floating furlough days for furlough program participants at higher pay rates.

Highlights of our proposed closure plan include:

  1. Extended winter curtailment (December 23, 2009 through January 6, 2010):
    Seven campus closure days have been scheduled in conjunction with our annual winter energy curtailment period in December 2009 and January 2010. Those days are December 23, 28, 29, 30, and January 4, 5, 6. December 24, 25, and 31 and January 1 are paid university holidays.
  2. Spring curtailment (March 22 through March 26, 2010):
    Four closure days are scheduled on March 22, 23, 24, 25, preceding Friday, March 26, which is the Cesar Chavez holiday.

During the campus closure periods, employees who are subject to the furlough program are expected to use furlough days, which may be used for the closure period before they have been accrued. Furlough time must be exhausted by the end of the program in August 2010. Employees who are not subject to the furlough program may use vacation, compensatory time off (CTO), or leave without pay.

For exclusively represented employees, these closure days will be handled in accordance with the existing contract provisions and are subject to discussion and/or collective bargaining where applicable.

Some campus departments may be required to remain open during the curtailment period. Employees in those departments should work with their supervisors to take their furlough days as they are accrued.

Remaining days to meet required percent reduction

Employees who must take additional furlough days beyond the eleven 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 the unit or department. All furlough days must be used by August 31, 2010.

Salary reduction

For employees on the furlough program, the salary reduction that corresponds to the furlough days will be spread evenly across the 12 months between September 1, 2009 and August 31, 2010, regardless of the number of campus closure days scheduled in a given month. For represented employees not on the furlough program, the impact on work schedules and pay will be subject to applicable collective bargaining requirements.

Questions about START and the furlough plan

The furlough program requires us to modify the administration of Berkeley's START program. As a reminder, START and furlough benefits are similar, in that retirement and vacation accrual will be maintained at the employee's pre-furlough or pre-START salary level.

Employees who have a START percentage that is less than or equal to their furlough percentage will be moved to the furlough program and will no longer be in START. Employees who have a START percentage that is greater than their furlough percentage will be in the furlough program at their furlough percentage and in the START program for the remaining percentage. Departments will retain the savings from START percentages above the required furlough amount.

START employees should work with their supervisors to revise their current work schedules to accommodate the eleven campus-mandated closure days and the department's operational needs.

For more information

Information on campus closure, furlough, and START programs is updated regularly in the Berkeley FAQs page.

The latest questions and answers regarding the systemwide Furlough/Salary Reduction Plan are available on the Office of the President budget website and on the At Your Service home page.

Staff with questions regarding this closure period should contact the Employee Relations unit in Human Resources at (510) 642-7163 or askeru@berkeley.edu. Academic employees should contact the Academic Personnel Office, at appolicy@berkeley.edu. Exclusively represented employees may also contact their union representatives.

Comments about the proposed campus closure plan should be sent to hrpolicy@berkeley.edu or appolicy@berkeley.edu by Friday, August 28.


Nathan Brostrom,
Vice Chancellor-Administration