The University of Colorado Boulder is implementing furlough plans in recognition of the extreme financial crisis resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars from the COVID-19 pandemic. Please read further for additional information and FAQs. Content may be updated regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Top Five Questions

Employees with a base pay rate above $60,000 per year (all eligible appointments combined) are designated for the pay reduction.  

Exemptions:

  • Temporary staff; temporary and visiting researchers; and similar temporary faculty to include lecturer, artist in residence, adjoint, adjunct, and visiting faculty positions  
  • Undergraduate student employees, graduate student employees, student stipends and student fellowships
  • Employees on H1-B, H1B1 and E3 visas
  • Classified staff and 1% on-call/variable staff appointments
  • Appointments funded solely from sponsored projects research sources (fund types 26 and 30-33) and gifts (fund type 34) are exempt from the campus-wide furlough. 
  • Appointments funded 50% or more from sponsored projects research sources and/or gifts that have general fund dollars supporting a portion of the balance of the appointment are exempt from the campus-wide furlough. 
  • Appointments funded less than 50% from sponsored projects research sources and/or gifts, will have a prorated furlough based on the percentage of their position funded through general funds.  This will be based on a look back at the percentage of their position funded through general funds over the past year.
  • Employees with a base pay rate of $60,000 or less per year (all eligible appointments combined) are exempt from campuswide reductions.
  • Employees on a similar level department furlough are exempt from campuswide reductions. 

Yes. The additional leave days are taken at the reduced annualized pay rate. 

Yes. The employee and employer share of retirement contributions are based on salary paid. A reduction in salary, as a result of the furlough, will reduce the base amount used to calculate the retirement plan contribution amounts. For PERA, an employee must earn $580 in a month to have that month counted towards service credit. If a furlough lowers the amount of earnings lower than $580, that month will not be counted as PERA service credit.

No, personnel are not allowed to use grant, contract or gift funds to make up for the 5% pay decrease, and there are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Despite the temporary pay reduction, faculty still report 100% effort. This means that they can't report additional research during this time on a grant or contract. Even though University Staff are getting furlough days, they still report 100% effort as well. There’s no percent time reduction that goes along with the pay reduction.
  • In addition, not all faculty (or staff for that matter) can access large federal grant funds to make up for their temporary pay reduction, so this becomes an equity issue. Please note that externally funded research monies, summer or otherwise, are not subject to the pay reduction.

Faculty that defer income over 12 months will experience this reduction from August 2020 - August 2021 per their faculty election form

 

FY21 Furlough and Temporary Pay Reduction Programs

1. When will I be notified if I am receiving a campuswide temporary pay reduction/furlough?

Notifications will be sent through email from either Faculty Affairs or Human Resources through the month of June. While the majority of notifications will begin Friday June 12, some emails may be received at a later date. All email notifications should be received by the end of June.  

2. What is the duration and rate of the campuswide temporary pay reduction/furlough?

This is a temporary, one-year 5% reduction in pay, July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 (12 months). For faculty on academic year appointments, this results in a 5% reduction in their annual salary, whether it is paid out over 9 months or over 12 months. Pay for additional appointments (e.g., Department Chair, Faculty Director) is subject to the 5% reduction in pay as well.  Individual departments may have furlough plans at a higher percentage rate and of differing duration.

3. What is the duration and rate of the campuswide officer furlough?

This is a temporary, one-year 10% reduction in pay July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 (12 months) for Boulder campus officers (the chancellor, the provost, the COO, vice chancellors, associate vice chancellors, and deans).

4. Why don’t tenured and tenure-track and other nine-month faculty get additional leave?

The campus understands that teaching, research, and other academic work typically do not proceed in the same way as more traditional staff positions, with specific, tracked days off, so the “additional leave” does not apply.

5. Who is designated to take the temporary pay reduction?

Employees with a base pay rate above $60,000 per year (all eligible appointments combined) are designated for the pay reduction.  

Exemptions:

  • Temporary staff; temporary and visiting researchers; and similar temporary faculty to include lecturer, artist in residence, adjoint, adjunct, and visiting faculty positions  
  • Undergraduate student employees, graduate student employees, student stipends and student fellowships
  • Employees on H1-B, H1B1 and E3 visas
  • Classified staff and 1% on-call/variable staff appointments
  • Appointments funded solely from sponsored projects research sources (fund types 26 and 30-33) and gifts (fund type 34) are exempt from the campus-wide furlough. 
  • Appointments funded 50% or more from sponsored projects research sources and/or gifts that have general fund dollars supporting a portion of the balance of the appointment are exempt from the campus-wide furlough. 
  • Appointments funded less than 50% from sponsored projects research sources and/or gifts, will have a prorated furlough based on the percentage of their position funded through general funds.  This will be based on a look back at the percentage of their position funded through general funds over the past year.
  • Employees with a base pay rate of $60,000 or less per year (all eligible appointments combined) are exempt from the campuswide reductions.
  • Employees on a similar level department furlough are exempt from the campuswide reductions.
6. Will employees placed on department furloughs (periodic or continuous) prior to July 1, 2020 be subject to the campuswide furlough

If an employee is already meeting the temporary 5% furlough in FY21 through a department periodic furlough request, they would not have an additional 5% pay reduction. If an employee is on a continuous furlough and meets the criteria, the temporary 5% pay reduction would begin upon their return from continuous furlough and the days provided to take off would be prorated based on the remaining length of the campuswide furlough.

7. Are employees hired after the start of the campuswide furlough (data pulled on June 9, 2020) added into the campuswide pay reduction/furlough upon hire or appointment change?

No, not for the campuswide reductions, but they can be included in an individual department, school or college furlough/reduction plan. Eligibility for the campuswide reduction was based on a data snapshot taken on June 9, 2020 and future changes will not be monitored by campus HR. Only employees meeting the pay reduction/furlough eligibility criteria at that time are included in the campuswide pay reduction/furlough. However, departments may decide to apply the pay reduction or department specific furloughs to newly hired employees. Campus HR is available to departments to review individual situations.

8. How will employees know if they are included in the campuswide furlough?

Notifications will be sent through email from either Faculty Affairs or Human Resources throughout the month of June. While the majority of notifications will begin Friday June 12, some emails may be received at a later date. All email notifications should be received by the end of June. HR will also provide a list of employees included in the campuswide furlough to each college/school/division HR liaison.

9. Why doesn’t the 5% furlough equal 13 days off?

To accomplish the furlough, CU Boulder is implementing a 5% temporary pay reduction each month for 12 months. In exchange for the reduction, the employee will receive one day per month of leave to be used during the year, including as a block of time, without causing a large reduction in pay in any one month. This is not a one-to-one relationship. Note that the amount of additional leave is prorated according to the % time for part-time appointments.

10. How does this impact 1% on-call or variable staff?

Given the variable nature of these appointments, 1% on-call/variable appointment staff are not included in the temporary pay reduction nor the additional leave days.

11. What faculty administrative appointments are included in the pay rate reductions?

The pay reduction also applies to these additional administrative appointments:

  • 1428: Assoc Dean-Faculty
  • 1429: Asst Dean-Faculty
  • 1433: Director-Faculty
  • 1434: Assoc Director-Faculty
  • 1435: Chair
  • 1436: Assoc Chair
  • 1446: Director-Institute
12. What happens if an employee promotes or transfers during the campuswide pay reduction?

It depends. If the employee was already participating in the campuswide pay reduction, they will continue to participate in the reduction as long as their salary remains above $60,000. If the employee was not already participating in the campuswide pay reduction, they will not be included based on the promotion or transfer regardless of their new salary.  However, departments may decide to apply the pay reduction or department-specific furloughs to internal employees upon transfer/promotion. Campus HR is available to departments to review individual situations.

Additional Leave

13. Are the additional leave days paid?

Yes. The additional leave days are taken at the reduced annualized pay rate. 

14. How can the additional leave be taken?

The additional leave needs to be taken during the pay reduction time period and will not be paid out or carried over if unused. They can be taken in a block (e.g., 5 days in a row) or spread out throughout the months, with department approval. Departments have discretion to approve the days off based upon individual requests and academic or business continuity needs. The days do not need to be accrued before taking them and a department does not need to recoup anything upon a mid-year separation.

15. If the additional leave is taken in a block, how does that impact my paycheck?

You will receive a consistent reduction in salary every month regardless of whether you take one day each month or in a block. 

16. How does an employee request to use the additional days of leave?

Individuals shall request specific time off and receive approval from their supervisor.  Departments have discretion to approve the days off based upon individual requests and academic or business continuity needs. For employees who track leave, the earnings code “Furlough Leave” can be used in MyLeave to request and track the specific hours/days of leave. 

 

17. If an employee does not utilize all the additional leave provided, will they be paid out?

These are additional days of leave for the assigned temporary pay reduction period and will not be paid out or carried over beyond the end of the pay reduction period.  If an employee does not use the extra days during the pay reduction period, the extra leave is forfeited and will not be available in the future or paid out.

18. Does a future change in funding or percent of time impact the employee’s additional leave days?

Not necessarily. The additional leave days were based on a data snapshot taken on June 9, 2020 and changes to funding or percent of time will not be monitored by campus HR.  Departments are responsible to monitor the funding, pay rate changes, and leave granted. Department supervisors have the authority to review and approve the use of the additional leave days based on business needs and may make adjustments as needed for a future percent of time change. Campus HR is available to departments to review individual situations.

For research faculty, email ResFacHR@colorado.edu with an outline of the employees impacted, context of why a change is needed, and description of funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. 

 

Compensation

19. Will temporary or additional pay be impacted?

No.  The eligibility for the pay reduction is determined based upon a base pay rate of more than $60,000 per year. However, the pay reduction will occur on the employee’s base pay that is supported from eligible fund types (fund types excluded are described in the eligibility section.)  

 

20. If I am subject to the temporary pay reduction, when will I start seeing the pay change?

The temporary pay reductions will begin with the employee’s end of month July paycheck. Faculty begins in August. 

21. How does the campuswide furlough impact faculty whose salary is paid out over 12 months?

Faculty that defer income over 12 months will experience this reduction from August 2020 - August 2021 per their faculty election form.

22. Will the campuswide furlough impact the campus’ pay equity work?

No, the campuswide furlough and associated pay cuts are temporary cuts and do not impact an employee’s ongoing regular base salary which is the basis for the campus’ pay equity work.

23. What happens to an employee whose annualized base salary is above $60,000 but after the 5% reduction is below $60,000? For example, someone with an annualized salary of $61,000?

Instead of a 5% temporary reduction in salary, the employee’s salary is temporarily reduced to the $60,000 threshold and the additional days off received are prorated according to the percentage of the reduction. 

24. For academic faculty, how will this impact the Institutional Base Salary (IBS) for summer compensation calculations?

Institutional Base Salary (IBS) will be based on the rate prior to July 1 given this is a temporary reduction. 

25. When a staff or 12-month faculty member separates during the temporary pay reduction period, is their accrued vacation balance paid at the rate prior to July 1, 2020 or the current rate of pay reflecting the temporary 5% reduction?

Any vacation and sick leave paid at the time of separation would be paid at the original rate as of June 30, 2020. 

26. What are the implications to base salary for merit next year if available?

None. The employee’s current base salary will remain the same for any available merit process next year. Merit increases are applied to an employee’s base pay rate, and the base pay rate is not impacted by temporary pay reductions/furloughs. 

 

27. Does the temporary pay reduction impact summer faculty appointments?

No. It does not impact summer teaching, summer research or summer course overload appointments. 

Benefits

28. Does this affect health benefits?

 No. Employees receiving a temporary pay reduction are eligible to continue health, dental and life benefits. However, if you do not make enough in that month to cover your contribution to benefits, you will receive a bill in the mail.

29. Does this affect the employee’s retirement contributions?

Yes. The employee and employer share of retirement contributions are based on salary paid. A reduction in salary, as a result of the furlough, will reduce the base amount used to calculate the retirement plan contribution amounts. For PERA, an employee must earn $580 in a month to have that month counted towards service credit.  If a furlough lowers the amount of earnings lower than $580, that month will not be counted as PERA service credit.

30. Does this affect the employee tuition assistance benefit?

No. Eligible employees will still be able to use the benefit for themselves or their dependents.

Funding

31. Are sponsored projects funded positions included in the campuswide furlough?

It depends on how the appointment is funded.

  • Appointments funded solely from sponsored projects research sources (fund types 26 and 30-33) and gifts (fund type 34) are exempt from the campus-wide furlough. 
  • Appointments funded 50% or more from sponsored projects research sources and/or gifts that have general fund dollars supporting a portion of the balance of the appointment are exempt from the campus-wide furlough. 
  • Appointments funded 50% or more from general funds and that have partial support from sponsored projects research sources and/or gifts, will have a prorated furlough based on the percentage of their position funded through general funds.  This will be based on a look back at the percentage of their position funded through general funds over the past year. 
32. What happens if an employee’s funding source or distribution changes during the campuswide furlough period that would change their exemption?

Funding changes throughout the fiscal year will not be monitored by campus HR. Departments are responsible to monitor the funding, pay rate changes, and leave granted. Campus HR is available to departments to review individual situations. To initiate a review, email ResFacHR@colorado.edu with an outline of the employees impacted, context of why a change is needed, and description of funding for the remainder of the fiscal year.  

 

33. How is the temporary pay reduction calculated for employees who have more than one position on campus? I.e. part-time 9-month faculty and part-time university staff?

It will be prorated based on what the ratio of compensation is between the two positions and what parts qualify based on funding exemptions.

34. Why are sponsored project funded positions exempt from the temporary pay reductions?

The reason for excluding sponsored project funded positions is that it reduces time and effort that we’ve committed to the sponsor, which could adversely impact the sponsored project and our future efforts to secure or sustain that external funding. 

35. Are gift funded positions subject to the temporary pay reduction?

No, appointments funded 50% or more from gift funds (fund type 34) are exempted from the campuswide temporary pay reduction.  Appointments funded less than 50% from gifts or sponsored project funds will receive a partial reduction based on a look back of funding from the previous year.

36. What Is Sponsored Funding?

For the purpose of this guidance, sponsored funding is defined as: federal, state, or other government or private contracts; grants; awards from non-profits; and cooperative agreements. The term “sponsored” does not include funds generated from indirect costs recovery, royalty sharing, gifts, or state general funds. 

37. Are positions supported on DAICR considered grant funds?

DAICR funds are general funds and are not exempt from temporary pay reductions.

38. My position is funded partially on grants and partially on general funds. Does that change the number of days for furlough?

Positions that are more than 50% sponsored project funding are exempt from the temporary pay reduction even if a portion of their position is funded by general funds. If a position is funded 50% or more through general funds (including DAICR) and a portion of the position funded by sponsored research, HR and BFP will look back at the funding percentages over the past year and will use that information to set a prorated reduction rate for the employee’s appointments based on the percentage that was funded through general funds.

39. What will happen with personnel whose salary the University pays on a cost share?

The source of funds used to support cost share determines whether cost share is exempt or not from the 5% pay reduction.  

  • Fund 12 and Fund 22 cost share salaries are subject to the 5% pay reduction because these fund types are funded with Fund 10 and Fund 22, respectively, which are subject to the 5% pay reduction for salaries.
  • Fund 32 cost share salaries, which are funded with Fund 34 funds, may be exempt from the 5% pay reduction if the salary meets the conditions as stated in FAQ 35: Appointments funded 50% or more from gift funds (fund type 34) are exempted from the campuswide temporary pay reduction.  Appointments funded less than 50% from gift funds will receive a partial reduction based on a look back of funding from the previous year.

This does not apply to graduate students. The cost share commitment will remain the same. The furlough will not affect voluntary uncommitted cost share.

40. Can I use grant, contract or gift funds to make up for the 5% temporary pay decrease?

No, personnel are not allowed to use grant, contract or gift funds to make up for the 5% pay decrease, and there are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Despite the temporary pay reduction, faculty still report 100% effort. This means that they can't report additional research during this time on a grant or contract. Even though University Staff are getting furlough days, they still report 100% effort as well. There’s no percent time reduction that goes along with the pay reduction.
  • In addition, not all faculty (or staff for that matter) can access large federal grant funds to make up for their temporary pay reduction, so this becomes an equity issue. Please note that externally funded research monies, summer or otherwise, are not subject to the pay reduction.

Technical (HCM, MyLeave, Timekeeping)

41. How will a department track how many hours/days an university staff or twelve-month faculty has used?

HCM (CU’s payroll system) reports are available to run by employee, department or B-node to track the use of “Furlough Leave” in MyLeave and HCM which is designated as the correct entry for tracking. 

42. How will the 5% temporary pay reduction be reflected on the pay advice?

For university staff and twelve-month faculty:

  • An additional line in the pay advice will show a temporary pay decrease.  All other lines like regular earnings salary, vacation, or sick, will remain the same.

For academic faculty:

There will be no additional line showing the temporary pay decrease.  It will be the same contract payout, just a reduced amount based on furlough percentage. 

Department-Specific Furlough (Continuous)

What is a furlough?

Per Administrative Policy Statement (APS) 5062: Furloughs are unpaid leaves that may be voluntarily requested or mandated by the president or a chancellor when budgetary circumstances require a specific reduction in personnel costs. A furlough results in day(s) off without pay. Furloughs can be taken in daily, weekly or monthly increments. Employees on furlough continue to accrue annual and sick leave at the same rates as when such employees are on paid leave or engaged in university work during regularly scheduled business hours. 

At CU Boulder, a continuous furlough is for at least a week at a time.  Any employee is subject to a continuous furlough is most likely due to lack of work.  

A periodic furlough is less than a week at a time and will look more like one or two days per month for nine months.  For this type of periodic furlough, employees who earn less than $60,000 annualized will not be subject to furlough.

Can classified staff be furloughed?

Classified staff cannot be mandatorily furloughed without action from the governor and/or legislature. Classified staff can be voluntarily furloughed with a declaration of a “budget deficit in personal services” from President Kennedy. At this time, we do not have this declaration. 

Can I choose in which paycheck my salary is reduced following a furlough day?

No, employees will see a reduction on their paycheck for the pay period in which the furlough day is taken.

Does taking furlough affect my health benefits?

No. An employee on unpaid leave, including furlough is eligible to continue health, dental and life benefits. However, if you do not make enough in that month to cover your contribution to benefits, you will receive a bill in the mail.

If employees drop below a 50-percent appointment, are they eligible to continue their medical and dental benefits?

No, unless they qualify under the Affordable Care Act. However, an employee’s appointment does not change during a furlough and therefore should continue at the same percentage prior to the furlough.

Will the plan affect an employee’s retirement contribution?

Yes. The employee and employer share of retirement contributions are based on salary paid. A reduction in salary, as a result of the furlough, will reduce the base amount used to calculate the retirement plan contribution amounts. For PERA, an employee must earn $580 in a month to have that month counted towards service credit.  If a furlough lowers the amount of earnings lower than $580, that month will not be counted as PERA service credit.

Do I lose Holiday leave if I take a furlough day on a University Holiday?

No, employees who are scheduled to take a furlough day on a holiday will not lose earned holiday leave. The holiday leave hours can be taken before the end of the calendar year with the approval of the supervisor. 

Can a furloughed employee utilize the tuition benefit?

Yes, employees on furlough will be able to use the tuition benefit for themselves or their dependents.

How do I enter my furlough time in MyLeave?

For continuous furloughs, a Short Work Break (SWB) will be entered into HCM and the employee does not need to update MyLeave or any time tracking system.  

For periodic furloughs, the campuses are working closely with Employee Services and UIS to determine the best timekeeping tracking mechanism.

Can I use my earned leave instead of taking a furlough day?

No, accrued leave may not be used on or to substitute for a furlough day.

Will taking a furlough day affect my leave accrual?

No, employees will continue to accrue leave at their respective rates. Furlough hours count toward the total leave accrual in any pay period.

Am I entitled to unemployment benefits to cover the loss of pay due to the furlough plan?

Most likely, assuming you meet the other criteria to qualify for unemployment.  The Colorado Dept of Labor and Employment (CDLE) administers the unemployment benefit process, and the most complete information can be found on the CDLE's unemployment page.

See also the Unemployment FAQ’s.

Am I expected to perform work while on furlough?

No, a furlough is a day (or more) off of work with no pay. No work shall be performed while on furlough.

Does an employee have grievance rights regarding the furlough or temporary salary reduction?

Neither the placement of an employee on a furlough nor a temporary salary reduction gives rise to any grievance or appeal rights.

Can an employee authorized for work through an H-1B visa participate in a mandatory furlough?

The United States Department of Labor Regulations (20 CFR 655.731) do not allow the wages of these employees to be reduced through a mandatory furlough. They can only participate in a voluntary unpaid leave as long as it is not tied to the employer’s financial situation.

Will the length of service date be affected as a result of a furlough?

CU length of service dates are not adjusted during furloughs.  For PERA, an employee must earn $580 in a month to have that month counted towards service credit.  If a furlough lowers the amount of earnings lower than $580, that month will not be counted as PERA service credit.

How will the furlough days apply to part-time employees?

The furlough day will be prorated based on the percentage of time the part-time employee is scheduled to work, just like other types of leave. For example, if an employee typically works 50% time in a week then the employee would be furloughed the 20 hours of their normal schedule.

Do the benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Recovery Act (FFCRA) need to be paid out in the event of a furlough?

No, employees are not entitled to a payout of these leave benefits if the employee leaves the position, the university furloughs the employee, or lays them off.

Can furloughed employees take outside employment while on leave?

Furloughed employees have the right to seek new employment, so some may consider taking temporary jobs while on furlough. Any earnings may impact unemployment benefits.

What supportive services are offered to furloughed employees?

CU Boulder employees maintain access to the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP).  Through FSAP, they will be able to access support services to help them cope with the stresses of being furloughed.  Employees will not be compensated for any time utilizing resources.  

The Staff & Faculty Emergency Fund (The Fund) was created to provide support for CU Boulder staff and faculty who are experiencing a crisis that could adversely affect them and their families as they serve the campus and our students. The intent of the fund, donated by CU Boulder, alumni, parents and friends of CU, is to support staff and faculty experiencing an emergency situation that creates a financial hardship. Priority for fund resources will be given to those who have exhausted all other means of financial support. Payments from The Fund are limited and not intended to provide ongoing relief for recurring expenses.
 

Will employees who cannot do their work remotely be able to return to campus in June so that they don't have to be furloughed?

No.  This is not in line with keeping the minimal number of people on campus to protect our critical services employees who are required to be on campus and to prevent the spread of the virus throughout the community.

How does the billing for benefits work?

If an employee does not have enough wages to cover their benefits deductions, the employee will be billed directly from Employee Services (ES). ES asks that employees pay the bill when they receive it but will not cancel any benefits due to lack of payment. If the employee misses payments and then has enough wages to cover the benefit deductions that are past due, they will be deducted from their pay check. This may impact people as the current and all past due balances will be deducted when there are enough wages, so it could be a large deduction if they have a past-due balance.