President's Office Update Regarding On-Site Work

As President Meehan indicated in his message below, the Office of the President is implementing a series of expense reduction actions to confront the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic during the new fiscal year. I am emailing you today to provide details about two specific actions:

  • A furlough program of up to 5 days that will be implemented this fall for employees who earn $100,000 per year or more.
  • A requirement that employees use some amount of their accrued vacation over the next 12 months.

To be transparent, depending on a range of variables (state funding, federal aid, etc.), additional actions may be necessary in the second half of the fiscal year (January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021).

Furlough Program

The Office of the President will implement a second furlough program for all employees who earn $100,000 per year or more. The number of days, the salary thresholds and the administrative process will be the same as the furlough program that was just completed. (Human Resources will send a follow up email that includes specific details about the administrative process.) The schedule is as follows.

Salary Threshold Pay Period 1 (9/13-9/26) Pay Period 2 (9/27-10/10) Pay Period 3 (10/11-10/24) Pay Period 4 ( 10/25-11/7) Pay Period 5 (11/8-11/21) Total
$200K and above 1 day 1 day 1 day 1 day 1 day 5 days
$150K to $199K 0 1 day 1 day 1 day 1 day 4 days
$125K to $149K 0 1 day 1 day 1 day 0 3 days
$100K to $124K 0 0 1 day 1 day 0 2 days
Under $100K 0 0 0 0 0 0

No Work on Furlough Days

Employees may not perform work for the University on the day that they are on a furlough and may not perform additional work, beyond their regular hours, during the work week in which their furlough takes place. This restriction on additional work is necessary in order to comply with a specific requirement under the Fair Labor Standards Act for exempt public employees who are subject to a furlough for less than a full week.

Pay Status During Furlough

Employees will be in an unpaid status while on a furlough. Employees may not use vacation or personal leave in order to be paid on a furlough day.

Creditable Service for Furloughed Employees

The Massachusetts State Employee Retirement System will waive up to 20 business days of creditable service for employees who are furloughed. With both the President’s Office spring and fall furlough days combined, no President’s Office employee will have taken more than 10 furlough days.

Required Vacation Usage

Since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a very significant decrease in the use of vacation leave in the President’s Office and across the University system. This reduction is understandable since many employees are working just as hard as always during a time when many services and support structures are unavailable. However, it is still important for each employee’s well-being that they utilize the paid vacation leave that they have earned. Also, because the University needs to record the costs associated with accrued paid leave, it is necessary for the Office of the President to ensure that employees use a reasonable amount of their paid vacation leave.

For this reason, the Office of the President will require employees to use some of their accrued vacation as outlined below:

  • Employees who currently have at least two weeks of accrued vacation leave, but less than five weeks of accrued vacation, will be required to take at least one week of vacation by December 31, 2020 and will be required to take at least another week of vacation by June 30, 2021. (For a total of two weeks over the 12 month period.)
  • Employees who have five weeks or more of accrued vacation leave, but less than six weeks, must use at least one week of vacation by December 31, 2020 and must take an additional two weeks by June 30, 2021. (For a total of three weeks over the 12 month period.)
  • Employees who have six weeks or more of accrued vacation leave must use at least two weeks of vacation by December 31, 2020 and must use an additional two weeks by June 30, 2021. (For a total of four weeks over the 12 month period.)

In accordance with the current benefits structure, employees will continue to accumulate additional vacation during this 12 month period (most employees will accumulate an additional four weeks of vacation during this period.)  Consequently, this requirement will not result in any employee needing to exhaust his/her vacation leave balance.

The determination as to how much vacation an employee must use will be based on the employee’s vacation balance as of pay period ending 7/4/20. Next week, you will receive an email from Human Resources confirming your individual vacation usage requirement.

Employees can satisfy this vacation usage requirement by taking the total required amount prior to December 31, 2020 if they chose to do so. (For example, if an employee with four weeks of accrued vacation takes two weeks of accrued vacation prior to December 31, 2020, then the employee will have satisfied this requirement.)  In addition, employees are encouraged to use additional accrued vacation during this period. The process of requesting and scheduling vacation will remain consistent with current practice.

Employees are also encouraged to use their available personal time. However, this specific requirement does not pertain to personal time balances or personal time use.

Please contact the following individuals if you have any questions.

  • Contact Jacquie Kittler at jkittler@umassp.edu if you have general questions about the furlough program.
  • Contact Carol Dugard at cdugard@umassp.edu if you have questions about your vacation leave balance.
  • All President’s Office employee updates are posted at COVID-19 Guidance.

Thank you all for your continued hard work and commitment to the University during this difficult period.