UW-Stout furloughed 46 more employees, provided plans regarding eventual intermittent furloughs and announced university officials will take salary reductions beginning this summer.
Chancellor Katherine P. Frank sent a memo announcing the actions to campus members Monday, which also included temporarily reducing hours of 67 workers. Frank said the immediate furloughs and reduced hours “impact employees with limited workload due to current operational need and/or those employees unable to carry out responsibilities remotely.”
The action brings the total number of consecutive-day furloughed employees at UW-Stout to 115 as a result of economic challenges brought by COVID-19. The university furloughed 69 employees April 27.
UW-Eau Claire recently furloughed more than 220 workers on two separate occasions. According to Mike Rindo, UW-Eau Claire assistant chancellor for facilities and university relations, the university “continues to consult with shared governance leaders regarding potential intermittent furloughs and other budget reduction strategies. No specific decisions, other than the already announced consecutive-day furloughs, have been made.”
Frank also announced the preliminary plan for institution-wide intermittent furloughs beginning in July, noting that the furlough lengths could increase “depending on our fall financial situation.”
The plan includes 12-month employees taking a minimum of 12 furlough days from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021. Nine-month employees will take a minimum of nine furlough days from August 24, 2020, through May 23, 2021.
“It is our hope that those on consecutive day furlough and temporary workload reduction equivalent to, or greater than, the number of institution-wide intermittent furlough days will not be subject to institution-wide intermittent furlough days; however, due to unknowns regarding our financial situation, we cannot guarantee this will be the case,” Frank said.
In addition to furloughs and fewer hours, Frank will take a voluntary, temporary 15% salary reduction from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021. Her 2020 starting salary was $260,000. The provost, vice chancellors and academic deans will all take a voluntary, temporary 10% salary reduction, and members of Cabinet will take a voluntary, temporary 5% salary reduction during the same period.
The memo noted that those percentages could be adjusted based on the final number of institution-wide, intermittent furlough days. Combined, Frank said, the actions will result in $5 million in savings.
“I know there is very little I can say that will take away the pain associated with this process,” Frank said. “While these steps are necessary to address UW Stout’s financial situation, I recognize that they place an emotional and personal strain on our university community. The employees impacted today have been contacted by their supervisors and directed to resources available for them to pursue. Our goal is to support our employees to the best of our ability throughout this challenging process.”
Frank said the university has not discussed layoffs at this time.
“I certainly wish that I had more positive news to deliver as we conclude our academic year,” Frank said. “I cannot express how much I appreciate your hard work, input, and questions throughout this process … While these are difficult decisions to make, they are necessary as we address our financial challenges due to the current crisis and work to preserve all that we cherish about our institution.”