MUSC Mandatory Furlough - Frequently Asked Questions
Updated February 12, 2009 - This document will continue to be revised as new questions are submitted. The newest questions will be added to the top of this document. Submit a question.
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What is a mandatory furlough?
A furlough is a leave of absence without pay that is enacted as a cost savings measure. There are two types of furloughs – voluntary and mandatory. When a mandatory furlough is declared, all employees paid from all funding sources in a particular area or department must take time off without pay for the period of time designated by the furlough.
Why is MUSC even implementing a furlough?
This is one of the cost saving initiatives that many areas are using to meet the newly imposed budget limitations. The attached message from the President outlines the budgetary challenges that MUSC is currently facing.
Who is required to participate in a mandatory furlough?
All MUSC employees in the area specified by the furlough must participate in a mandatory furlough regardless of classification or funding source. That includes all administrators, faculty members, employees working in classified and unclassified positions, employees working in research grant, time limited and other temporary or intermittent positions and all new hires in the affected area.
How many days do I have to take off?
In those areas implementing a mandatory furlough, all employees must take off 4 work days without pay prior to June 30, 2009. With supervisor’s approval, employees may begin taking furlough days starting December 21, 2008.
Will I be paid for these days?
No. A Mandatory Furlough is leave without pay.
Can I take annual leave or sick leave on a furlough day?
No. A furlough is leave without pay.
When do I take off?
All employees must work with their supervisor to identify 4 work days during the fiscal year to schedule the required furlough leave without pay. Hourly employees may schedule furlough time in partial day or full day increments. Salaried employees take the leave in full day increments.
How will my paycheck be affected?
Exempt or monthly paid employees will have a reduction equal to one day of pay for each month during the January through April 2009 timeframe to account for the mandatory 4 days of leave without pay for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009.
Non-exempt or bi-weekly employees will have each of the pay periods during the January 4, 2009 to June 6, 2009 timeframe reduced by a specified amount to account for the furlough time without pay. Thus, a full-time, biweekly employee will have an equal reduction in pay from each of these eleven pay checks to account for the mandatory 4 days of leave without pay for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009.
What happens to my benefits?
Furlough leave without pay will not impact state benefits such as Health Insurance and Retirement.
Employees will continue to accumulate annual leave, sick leave, and retirement benefits at their same rate.
An employee’s review date, continuous state service, state hire date and leave accrual date will not be affected by any period of approved furlough.
MUSC will be responsible for making both the employer and employee contributions for those benefits that require employer and employee contributions if coverage would otherwise be interrupted during the furlough. For example: Health Insurance and State Retirement require a monthly employee AND employer contribution. MUSC will pay both of these contributions for the 4 days of furlough leave without pay if coverage would have been interrupted. Since MUSC will cover both contributions, the employee’s coverage is not affected.
The employee remains responsible for making contributions that require only employee contributions.
The employee is responsible for all types of miscellaneous deductions/premiums, i.e. credit union and miscellaneous insurance companies.
For a better understanding of the specific employee and employer contributions that comes out of your pay, please review your paycheck and benefits on the HR website at http://www.musc.edu/hrm/myrecords. It will show you a breakdown of these deductions.
How will the furlough affect an employee's 12 high quarters for retirement?
The furlough will not affect the 12 highest quarters of compensation reported to the Retirement System. Employee benefits, including retirement, will not be impacted by the furlough.
Can I take more than 4 days to contribute more to the budget impact?
Yes, an employee may take more than the required 4 days off without pay through a voluntary furlough. The employee would need to request permission in advance of taking additional days off without pay with his or her supervisor. The supervisor will need to contact the Department of Human Resources to ensure proper procedures are followed for the voluntary furlough.
Are temporary employees who were hired through a temporary agency included in this program?
No. Only employees that are paid by MUSC.
Do I still participate if I am a Temporary Grant Employee?
Yes, mandatory furlough applies to all employees, regardless of source of funds, including but not limited to temporary grant employees.
I would prefer to have my entire salary reduction occur earlier in 2009. Is it possible to elect where to have payroll reductions, or must the reduction schedule be the same for all employees?
No, the reduction schedule will be the same for all employees affected by the mandatory furlough.
What if I am a Part-Time Employee?
The amount of time a part-time employee must take off for the mandatory furlough will be pro rated based on the employee’s full-time equivalency (FTE). As an example, a half-time employee must take 2 days furlough leave (.5 FTE times 4 days of mandatory leave without pay equals 2 days that must be taken off without pay).
How do I submit my leave?
All employees will use the existing leave system to document furlough days off. A separate code will be provided so that the mandatory furlough days are appropriately tracked within each respective department. Supervisors will be responsible for tracking their employee’s furlough leave. See Timekeeping Guidelines for more information.
Does my supervisor have to approve when I am taking off?
Yes. Your immediate supervisor must pre-approve the requested furlough period.
How many consecutive days can I take off for furlough leave without pay?
You may take up to 4 consecutive days off. Supervisor’s pre-approval is required.
Can I take off partial days or does it have to be in full day increments if I am paid biweekly?
Yes, hourly employees may take the required days off in partial day increments. The supervisor of the area must pre-approve the time off.New employees hired anytime during the 2008-2009 FY will be required to participate in the program. Supervisors should contact Human Resources, Classification and Compensation section, for guidance on prorating the furlough amount for new hires.
What if I am a new hire after the program is in effect?
What if a holiday occurs during the period of approved furlough and it is a scheduled workday?
During fiscal year 2008-2009, employees are expected to observe all paid holidays and are allowed to take accumulated annual and sick leave and other paid leave as necessary. However, employees are still required to take 4 days of furlough leave without pay during the fiscal year 2008-2009 and may not use other available leave to avoid taking required furlough leave without pay.
What if I am on FMLA during this furlough period?
You will still be expected to take 4 days of furlough leave without pay.
Do I have grievance rights?
The placement of an employee on mandatory furlough does not constitute grounds for a grievance or appeal under the State Employee Grievance Act.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
To ensure that your questions are answered in a timely manner, please forward your questions to Dana Tumbleston at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Susan Carullo at email@example.com. Questions may also be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, you can contact the Office of Human Resources at 792-9825; or 792-9679.