June 29, 2020

The past few months have been extraordinarily challenging, but through those challenges you have once again demonstrated that our employees are our greatest asset. During this time of crisis, you have come together as leaders and professionals, demonstrating a caliber of expertise, dedication, flexibility, and innovation that has allowed Rutgers to serve as a model in supporting our students and caring for our patients, while managing the financial, operational, and human impacts of this pandemic. You have worked collaboratively to support, and, in many instances, even lead in the development of strategies to responsibly operationalize budgetary cuts across the university, spending controls and restrictions, and salary and personnel freezes, all while planning for the future of Rutgers.

Rutgers, like most institutions of higher education throughout the nation, is facing enormous headwinds due of the COVID-19 pandemic. Every aspect of the university -- academic, operational, and financial -- has been touched. In areas where remote work and instruction have resulted in significant curtailment or the elimination of on campus job functions, layoffs and furloughs have been unavoidable. We have a projected financial shortfall of more than $200 million across FY20 and FY21, and two weeks ago, we were constrained to declare a “fiscal emergency.”

We are in this emergency despite our shared attempts at finding savings and reducing costs. Those efforts have been tremendously helpful, and we thank everyone for their very best efforts. More still needs to be done to address the fiscal emergency while minimizing layoffs wherever possible. We are actively engaged in negotiations with our unions, have already entered a work-share furlough program with two of our unions, and hope that other unions will follow suit. In addition, we are implementing a ten-day Non-Aligned Employee Work-Share Furlough Program over the course of FY21. We thank you for your dedication and hope you will be understanding of the additional measures necessary to avoid drastic workforce reductions.

High level instructions and information are included below as well as on the UHR website.

What is the Non-Aligned Employee Work-Share Furlough Program?

The Non-Aligned Employee Work-Share Furlough Program is a program that allows for temporary reductions in an employee’s scheduled work hours and compensation to help mitigate a fiscal emergency, thereby minimizing layoffs wherever possible. This program is subject to approval by the State.

Participants in the Non-Aligned Employee Work-Share Furlough Program are not laid off. The salaries of program participants are reduced in an amount equal to the temporary time off. As a furloughed employee, you remain in active status and your employee benefits are not affected. Participants are eligible to apply for New Jersey state unemployment benefits regardless of their residence.

Who is Included in the Non-Aligned Employee Work-Share Furlough Program?

Non-aligned staff employees, both exempt and non-exempt, whose positions are not represented by a labor union and whose terms of employment are not governed by a collective negotiation agreement are included in the work-share furlough program. This includes all Managerial, Professional, Supervisory, and Confidential (MPSC) employees.

Non-Aligned Employee Work-Share Furlough Program Explained

Phased Approach

The Non-Aligned Employee Work-Share Furlough Program will have two phases and will spread furlough days across the fiscal year to minimize individual financial impact and accommodate the operational needs of the university. This two-phased approach also provides the flexibility to align program timing with any expansion of the enhanced unemployment benefits.

Phase I – July 2020

The first phase, which is subject to State approval, will require each non-aligned employee be furloughed one (1) day a week during the period of July 6, 2020 through July 25, 2020 for a total of three (3) furlough days. The July period is designated in order to minimize the financial impact on furloughed employees. During this period, eligible employees will receive $600 for each week that a furlough day is taken under the benefit program authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These benefits are scheduled to expire at the end of July 2020 but may be extended by Congress.

Phase 2 – August 2020 through June 2021

During this period, all non-aligned employees will be furloughed for a total of seven (7) days on a schedule to be determined. Should the CARES Act enhanced unemployment benefits program be extended, we will work to align the remaining seven (7) furlough days with the extended program in order to minimize the individual financial impact of furloughs.

Process and Exceptions

Chancellors and senior leadership team members are reviewing rosters and designating specific furlough days for all non-aligned employees. Exceptions or modifications may be granted to employees who meet the following criteria:

  • Employees who provide direct patient care, or
  • Employees whose positions are fully funded through research grants or external funding sources

In addition, an employee may be exempted from participating in Phase I of the program for specific mission critical and time sensitive job functions. Employees exempted may be required to make up the exempted days if there is an extension of the CARES Act enhanced unemployment benefits.

Notifications

This program is subject to approval by the State. Once approved, all participants will receive a work-share furlough letter providing further details and resources pertaining to the July phase of the program.

Work-Share Furlough Program Income Estimator for Phase I

For your convenience, University Human Resources has developed a furlough gross income calculator to provide an estimate of the change in gross income during the period of furlough. The calculator can be accessed through the following link: Income Estimator

Phase 1 of the Non-Aligned Employee Work-Share Furlough Program - Sample Estimates of How the CARES Act Enhanced Unemployment Benefit Will Work:

Yearly Salary: $50,000

Income Category Current Weekly (no furlough) Furlough Week Gross Estimate (1 day per week)
Gross Weekly Pay (Rutgers) $962 $769
Regular Unemployment N/A $115
CARES Act Supplement N/A $600
Total $962 $1484

Yearly Salary: $100,000

Income Category Current Weekly (no furlough) Furlough Week Gross Estimate (1 day per week)
Gross Weekly Pay (Rutgers) $1923 $1154
Regular Unemployment N/A $143
CARES Act Supplement N/A $600
Total $1923 $2281

Yearly Salary: $150,000

Income Category Current Weekly (no furlough) Furlough Week Gross Estimate (1 day per week)
Gross Weekly Pay (Rutgers) $2885 $2308
Regular Unemployment N/A $143
CARES Act Supplement N/A $600
Total $2885< $3051

If you have any questions, please contact OneSource Rutgers Faculty and Staff Service Center at 732-745-SERV (7378) or OneSource@rutgers.edu.

Sincerely,

Vivian Fernández
Senior Vice President for Human Resources & Organizational Effectiveness