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Faculty Furlough Guidance and FAQs

Mandatory Furloughs Based on Earnings

All Less than 12-month faculty (9, 10, or 11 month), subject to certain exceptions, who earn more than $40,000 per year will take furlough days between November 15, 2020, and April 30, 2021. Specifically, the number of mandatory furlough days is based on the Faculty member’s current institutional base salary according to the schedule below:

    • Annual salary of $150,000 or more – 10 furlough days 
    • Annual salary of $100,000 – $149,999 – 7 furlough days 
    • Annual salary of $75,000 – $99,999 – 5 furlough days 
    • Annual salary of $40,000 – $74,999 – 4 furlough days

Furlough days are self-selected by filling out the Mandatory Furlough Form.  Any mandatory furlough days not taken by the final pay period of the furlough period (4/18/21 –  4/30/21) will be logged by HR into that final pay period, split evenly between the two weeks.

FAQs

When can furlough be taken?

Furlough may be taken in half-day (4 hours) or full-day (8 hours) time units. 

How does furlough time interact with teaching responsibilities?

Classes may not be canceled solely for the purpose of taking furlough time; however, if there are legitimate, independent reasons for canceling or repurposing a class meeting that does not require the involvement of the instructor (e.g., allowing students to work independently or in groups on a project), a faculty member may take furlough at that time.  

Similarly, course assignments and projects may not be eliminated or reduced solely for the purpose of taking furlough time; however, if there are legitimate, independent reasons to do so while still supporting the learning outcomes for the course (e.g., providing students relief from a net surplus of assessment), the recaptured grading time may go toward furlough. 

Faculty should notify students at least 24 hours in advance that email and other forms of communication will be suspended and/or delayed during furloughed time.

Who is exempt from the furlough?

Temporary non-benefit eligible employees, Adjunct employees, H1B, H1B1, and E3 employees cannot take voluntary or mandatory furloughs.  

My funding is partially on grants, does that change the number of days for furlough?

Yes, for example, someone with a base salary of $77k composed of $45k appropriated and $32k grant funding should take 4 furlough days, because the appropriated portion of their base salary falls into that first pay band.

Use the non-grant, contract, and endowment funded portion of the employees salary to determine which furlough pay band to use to determine how many furlough days.  Any funding and savings corrections will need to occur after the pay period by using the payroll correcting entry process.

Can I work on my grant on my furlough days or use my grant funds to cover my furlough days?

No, furlough days are non-working days.       

Are self-support and local funds considered grant funds?

Self-support and local funds are spent similarly to appropriated funds from a university standpoint and are not exempt from furloughs. The self-support and local funds of the employee’s base salary are to be considered in allocating furlough days.  

How do I calculate the cost of my furlough?

Furlough cost is calculated on your pay rate which is the rate used on each paycheck distributed over 12-months or 2080 hours.  Calculate your furlough cost by using your hourly paid rate, and that can be found on your paycheck or using the instructions here:  https://www.boisestate.edu/payroll/employee-job-information/  

You can view your paychecks by logging into my.Boisestate.edu > HR Systems > Payroll and Compensation > View Paycheck.

For example, if your Annual Salary is between $75,000 – $99,999, you will need to take 5 furlough days.  Multiply your hourly rate, ($39.42) by 40 hours (5 days) = $1,576.80 of furlough.  Use the form to pick full or half days and spread it out if desired.

Do my earnings from summer salary or an administrative stipend count towards the salary levels and number of furlough days?

Earnings from summer salary and supplemental pay are not included in the salary levels or your institutional base salary.  However, an administrative stipend is a component of a Faculty employee’s institutional base salary and does apply.

I’m on Sabbatical do I still take furlough?

Yes, you will take furlough days according to your current sabbatical salary.

If I took an involuntary (mandatory) furlough May-July do I need to take mandatory furlough now?

No – all and only faculty who didn’t furlough then must do so now (subject to conditions and qualifications).

If I took a voluntary furlough or payroll deduction in May-July do I need to take mandatory furlough now?

Yes

How are benefits (health, retirement) handled during a furlough?

Health Benefits

Furloughs of 5 or more consecutive days may require the employee to pay their portion of the premium in order to keep health insurance.  However, if the employee has enough earnings during that pay period to cover the full employee portion of the premium based on the hours worked in the rest of that pay period, the employee would not be required to self-pay the premiums. Please review your past paychecks to determine if the reduction in hours leaves enough wages to cover your benefit deductions. Learn more about the self-pay process.

PERSI

An employee accrues one month of service for each calendar month worked as an active member of 

PERSI. A calendar month is one in which the employee works 15 days or more at ½ time or greater. Employees who are subject to mandatory furloughs or choose to take voluntary furlough leave (up to five days) and do not experience other unpaid leave that results in less than 15 days worked in that month will receive service credit for PERSI. An employee must be paid (pay may include wages, holiday pay, sick, annual or allowed leave pay) for at least 20 hours per week. Those on academic appointment must have at least a 50% contract. Overtime does not provide additional credited service or count towards the minimum service requirement.

Optional Retirement Plans (ORP); TIAA and Valic

If an employee is not working or receiving wages the employee’s portion of the ORP is paused. Credited service or vesting is not affected by furlough for those who participate in ORP.

How can I be furloughed if I have an employment contract?

Contracts are issued “subject to” the State Board of Education’s policies and procedures. 

Employees may have their salaries reduced through furlough or work hour adjustments as provided for in Section II.B. of Idaho State Board Governing Policies and Procedures.

Who monitors reporting?

Each supervisor will receive a copy of the furlough form when the faculty member submits their days. 

Will I be eligible for Unemployment?

Like all questions regarding eligibility, the answer is usually: it depends.

As long as a claimant is not working full time (40 or more hours in a week, Sunday to Saturday) they may be eligible to receive benefits. Technically the claimant is laid off due to lack of work but with the caveat of “working reduced hours”. As long as the gross earnings in a given week is less than 1.5x the claimant’s weekly benefit amount they would be eligible for some payment.

For example, Claimant’s WBA (weekly benefit amount) is $400. If they earn $600 the claimant would be ineligible in that particular week. For every dollar over ½ their WBA they earn we deduct a dollar from the benefit for that week.  If the claimant earned exactly his or her benefit of $400 then they would be eligible to receive $200 for that week. If they earned $599 (one dollar less than 1.5x) then we would pay a dollar for that week.

This math is also described in the UI Claimant Rights and Responsibilities (green) handbook sent to each claimant when they file. In addition, here is further explanation that we received from the Idaho Department of Labor:

  • How is the 1.5x calculated? In other words, will this always be $600, since Idaho has a maximum weekly benefit amount of $400?

Much of how unemployment works is based on a 52 week year. We look at eligibility week to week. If a claimant’s weekly benefit amount is $400 then 1.5x that amount is $600. Not all claimants have a weekly benefit amount of $400. The lowest weekly benefit amount we will pay is $72. So, for our example, once that claimant has earned $600 from working in a week they are claiming for benefit payment they would be ineligible for that payment. For every dollar over ½ of that claimant’s weekly benefit amount they earn from working that week (weekly gross earnings are reported when the claimant completes the weekly certification for that week) we will deduct a dollar from the weekly benefit amount for that week. Example: Claimant’s benefit is $400, the claimant earns $200 from working at BSU in a given week; in this case we would pay the claimant the full $400. If that same claimant earned $201 in wages from BSU in a given week they would receive $399 in benefits payment for that week. If a claimant earned $202 we would pay them $398 and so on and so forth. Once the claimant earns 1.5x their weekly benefit amount in earned wages from working at BSU in a given week they would be ineligible to receive anything. Another example: the claimant earns $599 in wages in a given week then we would pay them $1.

  • Is the amount this person earns (i.e.”If they earn $600 the claimant…”) related to the amount of money earned by working their reduced BSU workload in that week?

Yes, benefit is reduced dollar for dollar every dollar over ½ of that claimant’s weekly benefit amount that claimant earns in gross wages from working at BSU.

A person is not eligible to receive anything if they work full time (40 hours) in a given week, regardless of gross earnings. But you could, theoretically, work 39 hours in a week and as long as your gross earnings for that week aren’t at or over 1.5x your weekly benefit amount you would still be eligible to receive a benefit payment from us.

For further information, the contact information for the Idaho Department of Labor can be found on the DOL website: https://www.labor.idaho.gov/dnn/Contact

Is there help with filing for Unemployment?

You can view our PowerPoint with helpful instructions on Applying for Unemployment. For questions about applying for unemployment please contact the Department of Labor directly.

Things to be aware of while filing for unemployment

If you are applying for unemployment you should not take furlough during any holiday week.  Holiday weeks are:

  • November 23 – 27, 2020
  • December 21 – 25, 2020
  • December 28, 2020 – January 1, 2021
  • January 18 – 22, 2021
  • February 15 – 19, 2021

Still have questions?

Contact HR for assistance:

  • hrs@boisestate.edu
  • 208-426-1616
  • 2225 W University Drive Capitol Village, #3 Boise, ID 83725-1265