University of Wisconsin–Madison

Furlough Information

Important Update:  On April 16, 2021, campus leadership announced a change to the employee furlough program originally implemented in January (Round Two of Campus-wide, Intermittent Furlough). Furlough obligations will be reduced by one day (8-hour equivalent) for all faculty and staff. Read the message to employees about this change.

This web page is being updated to reflect this change.

Campus-Wide, Intermittent Furlough: Round Two Announced

At the end of October, Chancellor Blank announced that there would be a second round of furloughs starting in January 2021. This action and others are being taken in response to the ongoing financial challenges faced by UW–Madison due to the ongoing pandemic.

Most UW−Madison faculty and staff will participate in Round Two of Campus-wide, Intermittent Furloughs beginning on January 1, 2021, and ending on June 30, 2021.

As in Round One, the furlough obligations in Round Two are again based on an employee’s annual pay rate (see the furlough chart). Note: The furlough chart has been updated as of April 16, 2021.

There is only one change. In Round Two, Limited Appointees have the flexibility to either take the unpaid furlough days or take a voluntary pay reduction equal to their furlough obligation. Limited Appointees include leadership positions in director roles. Those who are eligible for this option have been contacted directly via email.

As in the first round of furloughs, the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors will take a 15 percent voluntary pay reduction during the Round Two furlough period. In addition, the deans of colleges and schools will take a 10 percent voluntary pay reduction. Because of these substantial pay reductions, these members of UW’s executive team will not be participating in the Campus-wide, Intermittent Furloughs. Please see the FAQs for information on others who are exempt from Campus-Wide, Intermittent Furlough.

Employees on Campus-wide, Intermittent Furlough can check their furlough balance using the look-up tool at hr.wisc.edu/covid19/furlough/calculator. This tool now shows Round Two furlough balances after the April 16 change to the furlough program (i.e., reduction of furlough balances by one day, or 8-hour equivalent).

Please note: UW–Madison’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in rapid changes in HR procedures. Information is being released as it becomes available. Please continue to monitor this page for additions and updates.

Update on employee furlough program (4/16/2021)
Translations:Español Hmoob བོད་ཡིག 中文 नेपाली

Frequently Asked Questions

Furlough Calculator
Look up your furlough balance for Round Two of Campus-wide, Intermittent Furlough.

How to Report Furlough Time Used

Reporting requirements vary depending on your employee classification. Please see your furlough notification letter for an explanation of how your pay will be reduced during furlough.

If your furlough time will be reduced in equal amounts over the specified furlough period (also called “smoothing”):
Report Furlough Time with Smoothing If Paid Biweekly
Report Furlough Time with Smoothing If Paid Monthly

If your pay will be reduced during any pay period in which furlough time is taken:
Report Furlough Time as It Is Used If Paid Biweekly
Report Furlough Time as It Is Used If Paid Monthly

Questions?

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact:

Language assistance is available.
Español, Hmoob, བོད་ཡིག, 中文, नेपाली
Spanish, Hmong, Tibetan, Chinese, Nepali

Taking care of mental health

The Employee Assistance Office (EAO) offers resources to help maintain well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Confidential counseling for employees and their families is available through EAO and is offered 24/7 through LifeMatters.

Introduction to Short-Term, Cost-Saving Measures

Helpful Definitions

  • What is a furlough?

    A furlough is a temporary, unpaid leave of absence that is involuntary and required by the employer. The employee remains an employee while taking a partial or full unpaid leave of absence. Some reasons an employer may choose furlough include a reduction in on-site operations resulting in less work to be done, or a disruption in funding. A furlough is considered a “leave of absence.”

  • What is a leave of absence?

    As defined in Wisconsin state law, a leave of absence is “any period during which an employee has ceased to render services for a participating employer and receive earnings and there has been no formal termination of the employer-employee relationship.” A furlough is one type of leave of absence; other examples include extended illness leave, extended parental leave, and military leave.

  • Can I perform any work during a furlough?

    No. During your furlough time, you will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence and must not perform work, on-site or remotely, for UW–Madison. For example, you cannot check your university email account or use university equipment while on furlough.

  • What is an intermittent furlough?

    An intermittent furlough provides for an unpaid furlough taken in separate periods of time rather than being taken as one continuous leave of absence. Intermittent furlough days may be specified by the university, or may be coordinated with the employee’s supervisor, or a combination thereof.

  • How does a furlough differ from a layoff?

    A furlough is an unpaid leave of absence. While on furlough, an employee remains an employee of UW–Madison. Furloughed employees may retain some employee benefits. A layoff is a termination of employment with reappointment rights.

Campus-Wide, Intermittent Furlough

  • If I am on Campus-Wide, Intermittent Furlough, how many furlough days will I be required to take, and over what period of time?

    Most employees will take unpaid furlough time between May 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021, in two rounds. Round One began on May 15, 2020, and ends on October 31, 2020. For those employees with a Round One furlough balance after October 31, remaining furlough time must be taken before December 31, 2020. Any unused furlough time that remains after December 31, 2020, will be zeroed out or collected through a reduction in earnings. Round Two begins on January 1, 2021 and ends on June 30, 2021.

    The number of furlough days is based on an employee’s annual pay rate. Please refer to the Furlough Chart to see how many furlough days employees are required to take.

  • How can I check my furlough balance?

    If you are on Campus-wide, Intermittent Furlough, you can check your furlough balance using the look-up tool at hr.wisc.edu/covid19/furlough/calculator.

    The look-up tool displays your furlough requirement, furlough time used, and balance remaining. Furlough time you have used and reported will be displayed the day after your furlough report has been approved by your supervisor. You are encouraged to report furlough time used as promptly as possible.

  • Who is exempt from Campus-Wide, Intermittent Furlough?

    The Campus-wide, Intermittent Furlough does not apply to any of the following:

    • Foreign workers on H-1B or E-3 work authorization. (The federal government requires that UW–Madison pay foreign nationals on H-1B or E-3 visa status on a full-time basis even at times when there is no work to do. Foreign nationals who are here on other status, such as J-1, TN, and O-1, may be furloughed.)
    • Student assistants and student help employees
    • Post-degree training appointments (e.g., postdocs)
    • Leadership and limited appointees who take a voluntary salary reduction
    • Non-FTE appointments (e.g., temporary employees, academic staff hourly, and lump sum appointments)
    • Employees on a Work-Share program or Position-Specific Furlough
  • How is my annual pay rate determined?

    Your annual pay rate is your full-time equivalent (FTE) pay rate without adjusting for part-time work. If your compensation is expressed as an hourly rate, you can calculate your annual pay rate by multiplying your hourly rate by 2080. For example, if your hourly rate is $18.00, your annual pay rate is $37,440.

    If your FTE or pay rate changes during the furlough period for any reason—such as a job transfer or promotion—your furlough obligation will be adjusted as needed for the remaining furlough period.

  • Why does a 9-month appointment have fewer furlough days than a 12-month appointment?

    For employees on 9-month appointments, the number of required furlough days in the chart is designed so that these employees lose about the same amount of wages as those at their income level on 12-month appointments (see part-time proration for similar concept).

  • If I am a part-time employee, how many furlough days will I be required to take? Updated

    If you are a part-time employee, the amount of your furlough time is prorated by the percentage of your appointment (% FTE or full-time equivalency). This is calculated using a three-step process.

    1. Step 1:  Determine the number of furlough days assigned to your annual pay rate, without adjusting for part-time.
    2. Step 2:  Multiply the number of furlough days by the percentage of your appointment (% FTE). For example, if your appointment is 0.75 FTE, you would multiply the number of furlough days by 0.75.
    3. Step 3:  Convert the number of prorated furlough days (from Step 2) to hours by multiplying the number of days by 8 and rounding to the nearest whole hour.

    Example A
    Employee A has an annual pay rate of $30,000 and 0.5 FTE. The number of furlough days assigned for $30,000 is 2 days. If 2 furlough days is multiplied by 0.5, the result is 1 furlough day (or 8 furlough hours).

    1. Step 1:  $30,000 pay rate = 2 furlough days
    2. Step 2:  2 furlough days x 0.5 = 1 furlough day
    3. Step 3:  1 furlough day x 8 = 8 furlough hours

    Example B
    Employee B has an annual pay rate of $79,000 and 0.66 FTE. The number of furlough days assigned for $79,000 is 3 days. If 3 furlough days is multiplied by 0.66, the result is 1.98 furlough days (or 15.84 furlough hours).

    1. Step 1:  $79,000 pay rate = 3 furlough days
    2. Step 2:  3 furlough days x 0.66 = 1.98 furlough days
    3. Step 3:  1.98 furlough days x 8 = 16 furlough hours (when rounded to the nearest whole hour)

    Example C
    Employee C has an annual pay rate of $110,000 and 0.1 FTE. The number of furlough days assigned for $110,000 is 4 days. If 4 furlough days is multiplied by 0.1, the result is 0.4 furlough days (or 3.2 furlough hours).

    1. Step 1:  $110,000 pay rate = 4 furlough days
    2. Step 2:  4 furlough days x 0.1 = 0.4 furlough days
    3. Step 3:  0.4 furlough days x 8 = 3 furlough hours

    Updated 4/16/2021

  • If I have multiple positions at UW–Madison, how many furlough days will I be required to take? Updated

    If you have multiple positions, the amount of your furlough time is calculated for each position. The amount of furlough time is calculated using a four-step process.

    1. Step 1:  For each position, determine the number of furlough days assigned to your annual pay rate for the position, without adjusting for part-time.
    2. Step 2:  For each position, multiply the number of furlough days by the percentage of your appointment (% FTE or full-time equivalency). For example, if your appointment is 0.25 FTE, you would multiply the number of furlough days by 0.25.
    3. Step 3:  For each position, convert the number of prorated furlough days (from Step 2) to hours by multiplying the number of days by 8 and rounding to the nearest whole hour.
    4. Step 4:  Add the number of furlough hours for each position (from Step 3) together. This is the total number of furlough hours you will be required to take.

    Example
    Employee A has two positions at UW−Madison. Position # 1 has an annual pay rate of $75,000 and 0.4 FTE and Position # 2 has an annual pay rate of $75,000 and 0.25 FTE. The number of furlough days assigned for $75,000 is 3 days. For Position # 1, if 3 furlough days is multiplied by 0.4, the result is 1.2 furlough days (or 10 furlough hours). For Position # 2, if 3 furlough days is multiplied by 0.25, the result is 0.75 furlough day (or 6 furlough hours). The total number of furlough hours for Employee A is 16 hours.

    1. Step 1:
      Position # 1:  $75,000 pay rate = 3 furlough days
      Position # 2:  $75,000 pay rate = 3 furlough days
    2. Step 2:
      Position # 1:  3 furlough days x 0.4 = 1.2 furlough days
      Position # 2:  3 furlough days x 0.25 = 0.75 furlough day
    3. Step 3:
      Position # 1:  1.2 furlough days x 8 = 10 furlough hours (when rounded to the nearest whole hour)
      Position # 2:  0.75 furlough days x 8 = 6 furlough hours
    4. Step 4:  10 furlough hours (Position # 1) + 6 furlough hours (Position # 2) = 16 furlough hours total

    Updated 4/16/2021

  • Can I take a voluntary pay cut instead of taking furlough time?

    During Round One, the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors took a 15 percent voluntary pay reduction during the furlough period, in lieu of participating in the Campus-wide, Intermittent Furlough.

    During Round Two, Limited Appointees will be provided with an option to take a voluntary pay reduction equivalent to their furlough obligation, rather than take furlough time. Limited Appointees include leadership positions in director roles. More information will be provided in November related to the process for taking a voluntary pay reduction. Those who are eligible for this option will be contacted directly via email.

    As in Round One, the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors will take a 15 percent voluntary pay reduction during the Round Two furlough period, in lieu of participating in the Campus-wide, Intermittent Furlough. In addition, the deans of colleges and schools will take a 10 percent voluntary pay reduction.

  • What are the guidelines for using furlough time?

    The guidelines for using furlough time vary depending on your employee classification. Employees will request their furlough days using the same scheduling and approval process used when requesting vacation leave. In some circumstances, divisions or work units may designate certain days when all staff will take furloughs.

    • Employees who will have their pay reduced in equal amounts over the specified furlough period, regardless of when furlough leave is actually taken, can take furlough time in one-hour increments (for example, one hour, two hours, or three hours). Furlough time cannot be taken in increments of less than a full hour.
      These employees must not work additional hours on non-furlough days.  Working additional hours during a furlough week will void the furlough usage and may require use of accrued paid leave.
    • Employees who will have their pay reduced during any pay period in which furlough time is taken can take furlough time in one-hour increments. These employees may not take more than one furlough day per week.

      In addition, the actual number of hours worked, paid leave time, and furlough time added together must not exceed 40 hours during any week in which furlough time is taken. For example, if an employee takes one furlough day (8 hours) in a week, they can work a maximum of 32 hours during that week (for full-time positions). If 4 hours of furlough are taken during a week, a maximum of 36 hours worked will be permitted.

      Working additional hours during a furlough week will void the furlough usage and may require the use of accrued paid leave. During a furlough week, employees may use other appropriate paid leave, such as vacation time, to take additional time off.

    • Below is an indication of how this differs based on employee classification. If you have any questions about this information pertains to you, please see your written furlough notification for details. You may also contact your supervisor or HR department for clarification.

    Employee classifications that can take furlough time in one-hour increments and must not work additional hours during a furlough week:

    • Faculty
    • Instructional Academic Staff
    • University Staff Non-Exempt (hourly employees)
    • Academic Staff Non-Exempt (hourly employees)
    • Attorneys
    • Physicians
    • Coaches
    • Veterinarians

    Employee classifications that can take furlough time in one-hour increments, can take a maximum of one furlough day (8 hours) per week, and must not work additional hours during a furlough week:

    • Non-instructional Academic Staff (Exempt) (salaried employees)
    • University Staff Exempt (salaried employees)
    • Limited Employees
    • Trades/Craft Workers
  • Can I take partial furlough days?

    Yes. Furlough time can be taken in one-hour increments. Furlough time cannot be taken in increments of less than a full hour.

  • Can I combine a partial day of furlough with a partial day of vacation time?

    Yes. You can combine full hours of furlough time with full hours of vacation time on a single day. Furlough time cannot be taken in increments of less than a full hour.

  • When can I start taking my furlough days?

    For Round One, most employees could take furlough days beginning May 15, 2020. Employees who were on 9-month appointments could take furlough days beginning August 17, 2020, at the start of the academic year.

    For Round Two, employees can take furlough days beginning January 1, 2021.

  • How will furlough pay be deducted from my paycheck under Campus-wide, Intermittent Furlough? Updated

    The answer to this question depends on your employee classification. You will receive a written notification of your furlough status that will include information on how unpaid furlough time will be deducted from your pay. The date you receive your paycheck, and what pay period each paycheck represents, will not change from normal procedures.

    • Some employees will have their pay reduced in equal amounts over the specified furlough period, regardless of when the furlough leave is actually taken. (For Round One, the furlough period is May 15–October 31, 2020 for those with 12-month appointments, and August 17–October 31, 2020 for those with 9-month appointments. For Round Two, the furlough period is January 1–June 30, 2021 for both 12-month and 9-month appointments.) Note: Following the reduction in the Round Two furlough obligation announced April 16, 2021, employees who are having their pay reduced in equal amounts over the entire furlough period (also called “smoothing”) will see their pay reduction end earlier than scheduled. Affected employees will receive additional information from the human resources office in their school, college, or division.
    • Other employees will have their pay reduced during any pay period in which furlough time is taken.
    • Below is an indication of how this differs based on employee classification. If you have any questions about how this information pertains to you, please see your written furlough notification for details. You may also contact your supervisor or HR department for clarification.

    Employee classifications that will have pay reduced in equal amounts over the furlough period:

    • Faculty
    • Instructional Academic Staff
    • University Staff Non-Exempt (hourly employees)
    • Academic Staff Non-Exempt (hourly employees)
    • Attorneys
    • Physicians
    • Coaches
    • Veterinarians

    Employee classifications that will have pay reduced during any pay period in which furlough time is taken:

    • Non-instructional Academic Staff (Exempt) (salaried employees)
    • University Staff Exempt (salaried employees)
    • Limited Employees
    • Trades/Craft Workers

    Updated 4/16/2021

  • Am I required to report furlough time I use?

    Yes. All employees will report on the furlough time used. However, the reporting requirements vary depending on your employee classification.

    Specific information on how to report furlough time in the system is provided in the links below.

    • Employees who will have their pay reduced in equal amounts over the specified furlough period (also called “smoothing”), regardless of when the furlough leave is actually taken, will report the furlough time they used in HRS (Human Resources System). See the instructions on how to report furlough time if you are paid biweekly or if you are paid monthly and your pay is being reduced in equal amounts over the furlough period.
    • Employees who will have their pay reduced during any pay period in which furlough time is taken will report the furlough time they used in HRS (Human Resources System). They will also report all hours working during the week of the pay period in which furlough is used. See the instructions on how to report furlough time if you are paid biweekly or if you are paid monthly and your pay is being reduced during any pay period in which furlough time is taken.
    • Below is an indication of how this differs based on employee classification. Additional instructions will be provided in the coming days. You may also contact your supervisor or HR department for clarification.

    Employee classifications that will report furlough time used in HRS:

    • Faculty
    • Instructional Academic Staff
    • University Staff Non-Exempt (hourly employees)
    • Academic Staff Non-Exempt (hourly employees)
    • Attorneys
    • Physicians
    • Coaches
    • Veterinarians

    Employee classifications that will report furlough time used in HRS, and also report all hours works during the week of the pay period in which furlough is used:

    • Non-instructional Academic Staff (Exempt) (salaried employees)
    • University Staff Exempt (salaried employees)
    • Limited Employees
    • Trades/Craft Workers
  • What are the special furlough time reporting considerations for salaried employees?

    If you are a salaried employee (paid monthly), you are exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Salaried employees often work more than 40 hours per week, and only need to report when they take leave, not how many hours they work.

    When you take unpaid furlough leave, however, you will become an hourly employee for that week (the 7-day period from Sunday to Saturday). As a result, (1) the university must pay you for all hours worked that week, and (2) you must report all hours worked that week.

    During the week furlough time is used, for full-time employees, actual hours worked, paid leave time used, and furlough time added together cannot exceed 40 hours per 7-day week. For part-time employees, during the week furlough time is used, actual hours worked, paid leave time, and furlough time added together cannot exceed the number of hours resulting from multiplying your appointment percentage times 40 hours in a 7-day week. Examples: An employee on a 50 percent appointment cannot exceed 20 hours in a 7-day week (.5 x 40) and a 33 percent appointment cannot exceed 13 hours in a 7-day week (.33 x 40).

    You are also required to report all hours worked for any week in which you take furlough. You will use the Timesheet available in the Time and Absence module in MyUW to enter furlough time, any paid leave time, and actual hours worked for each day of the week. See the instructions for reporting furlough time using the Timesheet if you are paid monthly and your pay will be reduced as furlough time is taken.

    You are encouraged to complete your time reporting for the furlough week as promptly as possible. Do not wait until the end of the monthly pay period to make these time entries. Prompt entries will allow time for your supervisor to approve the furlough time you have taken. This, in turn, will help ensure that your unpaid leave is deducted in the current pay period as you intended.

  • Can I use my accrued leave to offset the unpaid leave during Campus-Wide, Intermittent furlough?

    No. Employees may not use vacation leave, banked leave, sick leave, or personal holiday leave on a furlough day to offset the unpaid leave.

  • What is the status of my employment benefits during Campus-Wide, Intermittent Furlough?

    During Campus-wide, Intermittent Furloughs, employees will maintain their employment benefits as UW−Madison employees.

Work-Share Program

Position-Specific Furloughs

  • What is a Position-Specific Furlough?

    Campus work units may place employees on a temporary unpaid leave of absence (continuous furlough) due to lack of work or if an employee cannot work remotely. Operational needs will determine whether the reduction is for a part or all of the employee’s normal work schedule, and how long this furlough will last.

  • How long will the Position-Specific Furloughs be in effect?

    The Position-Specific Furloughs are expected to be in effect no earlier than mid-May, and operational needs will determine how long this furlough will last.

  • Will I be able to offset the lost wages in Position-Specific Furlough?

    Employees in Position-Specific Furlough will be able to apply for unemployment benefits.

  • Can I use my accrued leave to offset the unpaid leave during the Position-Specific Furloughs?

    Employees may not use vacation leave, banked leave, sick leave, or personal holiday leave on a furlough day to offset the unpaid leave.

  • What is my status if I am in Position-Specific Furlough?

    Employees placed in Position-Specific Furloughs will not be included in the Campus-wide, Intermittent Furloughs identified above. Affected employees will continue to maintain their employment as UW−Madison employees.

  • When will I receive information specific to my situation?

    Employees who are placed in Position-Specific Furlough received notification in May providing all the necessary information. Employees who are placed in Position-Specific Furlough at a later date will receive a notification providing all the necessary information.

  • Who is exempt from Position-Specific Furlough?

    Foreign workers on H-1B or E-3 work authorization may not be furloughed. The federal government requires that UW–Madison pay foreign nationals on H-1B or E-3 visa status on a full-time basis even at times when there is no work to do. Foreign nationals who are here on other status such as J-1, TN, and O-1 may be furloughed.

    Although graduate assistants, post-degree training appointments (e.g. postdocs), student hourly employees, and non-FTE appointments (e.g., temporary employees, academic staff hourly, and lump sum appointments) are exempt from the Campus-wide, Intermittent Furlough, they may be subject to other cost-saving measures, such as Position-Specific Furloughs in very limited circumstances.

    Employees placed in Position-Specific Furlough will not be included in the Campus-wide, Intermittent Furlough identified above.

  • Can the dates of a Position-Specific Furlough change?

    Yes, the length of time you are in Position-Specific Furlough may be reduced or extended based on the business operational needs of your work unit. Generally, you will receive a written notice at least seven calendar days before a change occurs. In some cases, employees may make an agreement with their supervisors or human resources (HR) department to make a change with less than seven calendar days’ notice. If you have questions about the notice period, contact your supervisor or local HR department.

  • Will I continue to earn vacation, personal holiday, and sick leave during Position-Specific Furlough?

    Yes, employees will continue to earn vacation, personal holiday, and sick leave in the same amount as they would if not on furlough. An employee may not use vacation leave, banked leave, sick leave, or personal holiday leave while on furlough to offset the unpaid leave.

  • Will I continue to receive holiday pay during Position-Specific Furlough?

    Employees who are placed in full furlough and are not working will not receive pay for any fixed legal holidays during furlough, but they will accrue floating holidays. In 2020, July 4 was a floating holiday. Employees who are placed on partial furlough and are working will receive holiday pay at their regular allocation.

  • Do position reassignments prevent furloughs?

    No. A reassignment will not prevent furloughs. If you are reassigned, you continue to be included in the Campus-wide, Intermittent Furlough.

    If you do not meet the number of hours for your appointment/position through reassignment, you may be placed on other furlough programs.

Reassignments

  • What is a reassignment?

    Supervisors may reassign employees to perform work to meet the university’s operational needs or ensure the employee is working to meet the number of hours for their appointment/position.

    Reassignment may involve work that is not part of the employee’s regular functions and/or it may be located away from their current work unit. In addition, employees may be reassigned to cover UW–Madison or State of Wisconsin staffing needs to provide essential services.

  • How will decisions be made about reassignments?

    Reassignments will be reasonably made and will consider current campus emergency circumstances, university business operational needs or State of Wisconsin needs, and the employee’s skills and abilities, to the extent possible under the circumstances.

Furlough and Leave Usage

  • Can I use my accrued leave to offset the unpaid leave during furlough?

    No. Employees may not use vacation leave, banked leave, sick leave, or personal holiday leave on a furlough day to offset the unpaid leave.

  • Will I continue to earn vacation, personal holiday and sick leave during furlough?

    An employee will continue to earn vacation, personal holiday, and sick leave during furlough.

  • Are the deadlines for the expiration of unused vacation time and unused personal holidays changing? Updated

    Yes. UW–Madison recognizes that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, employees may not be able to use all of their personal holiday hours or vacation carryover balances by the deadlines set by other campus policies. The deadlines to use personal holiday hours or vacation carryover have been extended. University Staff now have until December 31, 2021 to use vacation carryover that was earned in calendar year 2019 and personal holiday time that was earned in calendar year 2020. Faculty, Academic Staff, and Limited Appointees now have until June 30, 2021, to use personal holiday time that was earned in fiscal year 2020 and until October 9, 2021, to use vacation carryover that was earned in fiscal year 2019. This information is provided in the UW–Madison COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Policy.

    Updated 4/22/2021

  • Will “comp time” credits be extended?

    Yes. If an employee has compensatory time credits (“comp time”) carried over from the 2019 calendar year and is unable to use those credits by April 30, 2020, the compensatory time credits will remain available until April 30, 2021. If unused by April 30, 2021, the credits will be converted to cash payments. An employee may choose to convert compensatory time credits from the 2019 calendar year to cash payments at any time prior to May 31, 2020. This information is provided in the UW–Madison COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Policy.

  • Will I receive holiday pay?

    Employees will generally receive holiday pay while on Campus-wide, Intermittent Furloughs.

    Employees may not use vacation leave, banked leave, sick leave, or personal holiday leave to offset the unpaid leave while on any type of furlough program.

    Campus-Wide, Intermittent Furlough

    Employees will receive holiday pay if they take a furlough day before or after a holiday or on both days.

    Employees may use floating holidays (e.g., July 4 holiday in 2020) at any time with a supervisor’s approval.

    The following employee categories may only take one furlough day per week which also applies to the week they use a floating holiday:

    • Non-instructional Academic Staff (Exempt) (salaries employees)
    • University Staff Exempt (salaried employees)
    • Limited Appointees

    For example, these employees could take a furlough day on a Thursday, use the floating holiday on Friday, and take a Monday furlough day the following week. They could not take a furlough day on a Tuesday, use the floating holiday on Wednesday, and take a Thursday furlough day.

    All other employee categories may use furlough days consecutively with a floating holiday.

    Position-Specific Furlough

    Employees on Position-Specific Furlough who are placed in full furlough, and are not working, will not receive pay for any fixed legal holidays during furlough, but they will earn floating holidays. In 2020, July 4 was a floating holiday.

    Employees on Position-Specific Furlough who are placed on partial furlough and are working will receive holiday pay at their regular allocation.

    Work-Share Program

    Employees in a Work-Share Program will receive holiday pay at their regular allocation.

Unemployment Benefits during Furlough

Leave

Federal Emergency Paid Leave

Employee Benefits during Furlough

  • How does furlough impact my employee benefits?

    For many benefits, the impact of furlough on your benefits will vary based on which type of furlough you are under. Detailed information on employee benefits during furlough is available at hr.wisc.edu/covid19/furlough.

  • Can I take out a loan or remove money from my UW retirement accounts?

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) includes provisions related to retirement accounts that offer both financial relief and flexibility to plan participants. The UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) has adopted these provisions. The CARES Act allows for distributions from the plan before December 31, 2020, with no early withdrawal penalties or mandatory withholding for a plan participant who has a COVID-19 event. The CARES Act also includes specific relief for participant loans from retirement accounts, including a temporary increase in the maximum amount participants can borrow and an extension on loan payment dates. Participants must have a COVID-19 event to be eligible. Additional provisions and requirements apply.

    Please note that the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) does not allow hardship distributions or loans.

    Contact your TSA 403(b) provider at hr.wisc.edu/benefits/tax-sheltered-annuity-403b for more information.  More information on the impact of the CARES Act on TSA 403(b) plan participants is available on the UW-Shared Services website at uwservice.wisconsin.edu/news/post/561. Details on how the CARES Act may impact you is available on the UW System website at www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/benefits/download/caresact.pdf.

    General information about Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) 457(b) is available at docs.empower-retirement.com/EE/WisconsinWR/DOCS/Plan-Highlights.pdf (see page 5 for information about distributions and unforeseeable emergencies).

Employee Groups Impacted by Furlough

Voluntary Leave without Pay

  • Can I request a voluntary leave of absence?

    Yes. An employee may request and receive a voluntary leave of absence with approval from the school, college, or division. Any employee interested in taking a voluntary leave of absence should speak with their supervisor. They should also consult their local human resources contact about the effect of a leave of absence on employee benefits.

  • Does requesting a voluntary leave without pay exempt me from furlough?

    No. You may still have to take any required furlough days under the Campus-wide, Intermittent Furlough, in addition to your voluntary leave of absence, if the voluntary leave of absence is less than your required furlough obligation. You may be subject to other furlough programs or cost-saving measures. Any employee interested in taking a voluntary leave of absence should speak with their supervisor. They should also consult their local human resources contact about the effect of a leave of absence on employee benefits and the ability to qualify for unemployment benefits.

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