Short-term and long-term workforce impacts and other strategies for cost saving may be necessary due to the financial and operational impact of COVID-19.

Furlough

What is a furlough?

A furlough (or temporary layoff) for civil service employees is a temporary reduction in the number of hours an employee is regularly schedule or a period of unpaid time away from work enacted as a cost savings measure. Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 357-46-060.

For Administrative Professional employees, a furlough is a temporary reduction in the number of hours an employee is regularly scheduled to work. Administrative Professional Handbook.

At the end of the furlough the employee will return to their same position and FTE held prior to the furlough or temporary layoff.

What employee types can be impacted by a furlough?

Furloughs may apply to part-time/full-time civil service (CS), bargaining unit (BU) and administrative professional (AP).

How much notice will employees be provided for a furlough?

Civil Service (CS): In accordance with WAC 357-46-066), CS employees receive at least seven calendar days’ notice of furlough/temporary layoff. However, for the FY 21 budget reduction plan, WSU requires employees receive a minimum of 30 calendar day’s written notice.

Bargaining Unit (BU): Bargaining Unit employees should refer to their respective Collective Bargaining Unit Agreement or contact HRS.labor@wsu.edu. Employees represented under Washington Federation of State Employees and International Union of Operating Engineers receive at least thirty (30) calendar days’ notice for standard layoff processes. Employees represented under WSU Police Guild receive at least fifteen (15) calendar days’ notice for standard layoff processes.

Administrative Professional (AP): In accordance with the AP Handbook, AP employees will be given at least a 30 day written notice of furlough.

Are there additional requirements for HRS to process a furlough for the FY21 budget reduction?

Yes. Upon completion of final budget reduction plans, areas must submit to HRS a list of employees identified to be furloughed.  Information must include employee name, WSU ID, position number, employment type, dates of furlough and department contact.  This information will be used by HRS and Payroll Services to assist in processing furlough LWOP.  HRS will coordinate with areas regarding appropriate written notification to affected employees.

Furlough leave without pay must be processed on a time/leave report in accordance with the Payroll Document Schedule. No retroactive furlough LWOP is allowed.

It is the department’s responsibility to submit a time/leave report for each furloughed employee no later than 2 weeks prior to the start of the designated furlough week. Designated furlough leave without pay must be clearly identified.

Are there time limits on the duration of a furlough?

For the FY 21 budget reduction plan, furloughs must be for a full-work week. Single furlough days are not allowed.

Civil Service (CS): In accordance with WAC 357-46-064, CS employees cannot be furloughed for more than thirty (30) calendar days in a calendar year.

Bargaining Unit (BU): Bargaining Unit employees should refer to their respective Collective Bargaining Unit Agreement or contact HRS.labor@wsu.edu.

Administrative Professional (AP): In accordance with the AP Handbook, a furlough may not exceed more than 30 calendar days in a calendar year.

Are there options to reduce the financial impact of a furlough to our employees?

Yes. Departments are encouraged to be flexible in scheduling furlough weeks while ensuring that operational needs can be met.

  • Schedule the furlough week to occur in a week in which the pay period is split. This allows the furlough LWOP to be processed on two paychecks. 
    • Example: the week of September 14, the leave without pay (LWOP) for September 14 and 15 will occur on the September 25th paycheck, and the LWOP for September 16, 17 and 18 will occur on the October 9th paycheck.
  • Schedule the furlough week during a week a university holiday occurs. Employees are eligible to receive holiday pay while on furlough. Because the employee will receive holiday pay, the department will not receive the budget savings of a full work week.

Can staff volunteer to take a furlough?

Staff may request a voluntary furlough, following the procedures outlined in this FY 21 Budget Reduction Plan Options for Personnel document and by completing the Voluntarily Furlough Acknowledgment and Agreement form from HRS (available soon).

Will an employee receive unemployment if they volunteer for a furlough?

Information related to unemployment compensation can be accessed through Employment Security Department (ESD).

Are there options available to furlough faculty?

Furlough is not an option for faculty. Any change to appointment for faculty must be in accordance with their faculty contract and the Faculty Manual. Impacts to non-tenured faculty on appointments require appropriate notice in accordance with Section III.E of the faculty manual.

Faculty on continuous appointments (without an end date):

Annual – 1 year or less3 months
Annual – More than 1 year but less than 2 years6 months
Annual – 2 years or more12 months
Academic – 1 year or less3 months
Academic – More than 1 year but less than 2 years6 months
Academic – 2 years or more9 months

Faculty with a Terminal Date: Current appointment ends on the pre-established end date.

Can a faculty member volunteer to take a furlough?

A faculty member may request a voluntary furlough, following the procedures outlined in the FY 21 Budget Reduction Plan Options for Personnel document and by completing the Voluntarily Furlough Acknowledgment and Agreement  form from HRS (available soon).

Can an employee use paid leave during furlough?

No. When in furlough or temporary layoff status an employee cannot use any type of paid leave.

If an employee becomes sick during furlough can they use sick leave?

No. When in furlough or temporary layoff status an employee cannot use sick leave.

Can an employee who is on a leave of absence under FMLA or is at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 be furloughed?

Yes. Employees on a leave of absence due to FMLA or at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 must be treated the same as employees who are not on leave.

How will the furlough affect employees’ health care coverage?

PEBB benefits (which include medical, dental, life and long-term disability) will continue as long as employees are in pay status for at least eight hours before the end of the month.

Will holiday pay be affected for employees in furlough or temporary layoff?

Civil Service (CS): In accordance with WAC 357-46-067 employee’s holiday compensation will not be impacted by periods of time spent on furlough or temporary layoff.

Bargaining Unit (BU): Bargaining Unit employees should refer to their respective Collective Bargaining Unit Agreement or contact HRS.labor@wsu.edu .

Administrative Professional (AP): In accordance with the AP Handbook, an employee’s holiday compensation will not be impacted by periods of time spent on furlough.

May I furlough an employee during a week when a holiday occurs, for example the week of Thanksgiving?

Yes. You may furlough an employee during a week a university holiday occurs; however, the employee will receive holiday pay. Because the employee will receive holiday pay, the department will not receive the budget savings of a full work week.

May furloughed staff perform any work or volunteer to perform work during the furlough period?

Employees cannot perform any work during the furlough week. Furloughed employees are not authorized to perform any work for their employing unit during the furlough period. This includes work such as checking and responding to work email and remotely accessing their workstation except for the purpose of receiving communications about the end or extension of the furlough or to access employee benefits and resources.

Furloughed employees may not volunteer to perform any work for the employing unit which placed them on furlough.

Will employees be eligible to collect unemployment?

Employees may be eligible for unemployment compensation.  Information related to unemployment compensation can be accessed through Employment Security Department (ESD).

Will seniority, anniversary, or unbroken service dates be affected?

No, the furlough will not affect seniority, anniversary or unbroken service dates.

Will leave accruals be affected?

Civil Service (CS): In accordance with WAC 357-46-067, time spent in furlough will not affect leave accruals. Employees will continue to accrue sick and annual leave at the same rate.

Bargaining Unit (BU): Bargaining Unit employees should refer to their respective Collective Bargaining Unit Agreement or contact HRS.labor@wsu.edu.

Administrative Professional (AP): In accordance with the AP Handbook, an employee’s vacation and sick leave accruals will not be prorated for periods of time spent on furlough.

Will employees notified of furlough be entitled to layoff rights?

Per WAC 357-46-067, CS employees are not entitled to layoff rights for the purpose of furlough.

Will overtime eligibility be impacted if placed on furlough?

Exemption from the overtime provisions of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is affected while on furlough. Deductions from the pay of an employee of a public agency for absences due to a budget-required furlough disqualify the employee from being paid on a salary basis only in the workweek when the furlough occurs and for which the pay is accordingly reduced under 29 C.F.R. 541.710.

Overtime exempt employees who are furloughed for less than a full work week become overtime eligible for the entire work week; therefore, employees will be furloughed for a full work week.  

With Workday implementation coming in December 2020, how will furloughs be processed?

No furloughs are allowed between December 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021.

  • Furloughs occurring July 1, 2020 – November 30, 2020 will be processed in existing Payroll/HR systems.
  • Furloughs occurring March 1, 2021 – June 30, 2021 will be processed in Workday. 

Furlough leave without pay must be processed in accordance with the Payroll Document ScheduleNo retroactive furlough LWOP is allowed.

Will central capture accruals (salary savings) for furloughed employees paid on PBL funds?

No, all salary savings from furloughs will be returned to the area.

Grant Funded Positions

Most funding agencies expect institutions to have policies in place regarding payment of salary and wages for employees which are consistently applied regardless of the source of funds, as is consistent with 2 CFR Subpart E: Cost Principles. In addition, most funding agencies provide the institution the flexibility to adjust budgets to use money saved from furloughs in other ways as part of the project. Seek guidance from SPS and ORSO, and/or approval from the sponsoring agency if you are uncertain about what you can or should do with savings on a sponsored project.

Scenario: An employee paid at least partially on grant funds has been identified for furlough.

How will an employee whose salary is wholly funded by grant funds be affected by a furlough?

If the employee is paid 100% by grant funds, salary savings from the furlough period will accrue to the grant(s) they’re paid from.  During this time, the affected employee should not work on the grant(s).

How will an employee whose salary is partially funded from grant funds be affected by a furlough?

If the employee is split-funded, salary savings from a furlough period will accrue proportionately to their salary’s funding sources.  For example, if an employee is paid 20% by grant(s) and 80% by PBL, 20% salary savings will accrue to the grant(s) and 80% will accrue to PBL.  During the furlough period, the employee should not work on the grant(s) or state’s business.

Can a split-funded employee reduce their furlough days proportionate to their funding mix?

No, the days an employee is furloughed will not be reduced proportionate to their funding mix.

Can an employee’s funding mix be changed specifically for a furlough period?

An employee’s funding mix should accurately reflect what would otherwise have been their effort mix during the furlough period. See the first and second items under the Grant Funded Positions section.

Must a furloughed employee paid wholly on non-sponsored funds certify their effort?

Maybe:

  • Salaried employees funded wholly or partially on Programs 09 – 14 are required to certify effort.
  • Salaried employees paid on any Program who are cost sharing effort to a grant are required to certify effort.
  • All other employees are not required to certify effort.

How will a wholly or partially grant funded employee commit and certify their effort if subject to furlough?

Effort commitments and certifications should not materially change as a result of a furlough, unless the furlough period exceeds 25% of the employee’s committed effort.  Effort certifications should still be an accurate reflection of actual time spent on the sponsored project.  See 2 CFR 200.308 for further guidance.

How will Institutional Base Salary (IBS) change for an employee subject to furlough?

The employee’s IBS will be reduced proportionate to the furlough days taken.  For example, if an employee has an IBS of $100,000, there are 260 available working days in a year, and the employee is subject to 10 furlough days, their IBS would be reduced by 3.85% [10/260 = 0.03846]. The new IBS would be $96,150 [$100,000 * 0.0385 = $3,850 and $100,000 – $3,850 = $96,150].

If a grant-funded employee is furloughed, can their salary savings be used for other grant purposes?

Yes, in accordance with applicable guidance, to include the applicable grant’s terms and conditions.

If a grant-funded employee is furloughed, can their salary savings accrue to the university?

No.

Reduction in FTE or Appointment Term

What is a reduction in FTE or appointment term?

A reduction in FTE decreases the number of hours an employee normally works during a week (e.g. 100% 40 hours to 80% 32 hours). A reduction in appointment term decreases the number of months worked in a year (e.g. from 12 month to 9 month).

What employee types can be impacted by a reduction in FTE or appointment term?

Civil service (CS), bargaining unit (BU) and administrative professional (AP) may be impacted by a reduction in FTE or appointment term. Bargaining Unit employees should see their respective Collective Bargaining Unit Agreement.

How much notice will employees be provided for a reduction in FTE or appointment term?

Civil Service (CS):  A reduction in FTE or appointment term for CS will result in layoff notification. In accordance with Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 357-46-025 (Layoff Notification) permanent employees must receive at least fifteen (15) calendar days’ notice. Probationary employees must receive at least one (1) calendar day notice.

Bargaining Unit (BU): A reduction in FTE or appointment term for BU will result in layoff notification Bargaining Unit employees should see their respective Collective Bargaining Unit Agreement.

Administrative Professional (AP): In accordance with the AP Handbook, employees receive a minimum of 30 days’ notice for a reduction in FTE and/or appointment term.

How much can an employee’s FTE or appointment term be reduced?

For Civil Service and AP employees, a reduction in FTE cannot reduce an employee’s appointment to less than 50% FTE.  An appointment term cannot reduce an employee to less than 6 months.

Are there options available to reduce FTE or appointment term for faculty?

Any change to appointment for faculty must be in accordance with their faculty contract and the Faculty Manual. Impacts to non-tenured faculty on appointments require appropriate notice in accordance with Section III.E of the faculty manual.

Faculty on continuous appointments (without an end date):

Annual – 1 year or less3 months
Annual – More than 1 year but less than 2 years6 months
Annual – 2 years or more12 months
Academic – 1 year or less3 months
Academic – More than 1 year but less than 2 years6 months
Academic – 2 years or more9 months

Faculty with a Terminal Date: Current appointment ends on the pre-established end date.

Elimination of Position

Civil Service Employees: Layoff

Where can I find the WSU policy on Layoff for Civil Service Employees?

This policy can be found in the Business Policies and Procedures Manual, BPPM 60.37 Layoff–Civil Service Employees.

What is a layoff?

It is a reduction in the University’s workforce. The most common reasons for a layoff are:

  • Lack of funds
  • Lack of work
  • Organizational change

These are the impacts that may result:

  • Separation from service with the University.
  • Employment in a class with a lower salary range maximum.
  • Reduction in work year/appointment term.
  • Reduction in the number of hours worked (FTE).

How much notice will I receive before a layoff?

Per WAC 357-46-025, permanent employees must receive at least fifteen (15) calendar days notice unless employer and employee agree to waive the fifteen (15) days notice period. Probationary employees must receive at least one (1) calendar day notice.

My FTE is being reduced due to the budget. What type of notice will I receive?

Civil Service employees will receive a 15 calendar day notice prior to the effective date of change.

What criteria are used in determining civil service layoff options?

Seniority (permanent status) and position requirements, including competencies, are the two main factors to consider in determining layoff options for employees.

I am a Civil Service employee, is my seniority calculated based on time spent in my current classification?

No. Seniority is based on total days calculated from the employee’s continuous service date and any adjustments in accordance with BPPM 60.37 Layoff–Civil Service Employees.

Is performance considered in the layoff process?

Job performance is not a factor in the layoff process.

What information is provided to employees going through layoff?

If you are a permanent employee, you must be notified in writing of the following:

  • The reason or basis of the layoff.
  • Any layoff options identified for you by Human Resource Services.
  • Any requirement that you serve a transition review period.
  • The date by when you must select any layoff options.
  • The layoff lists (internal and statewide) for which you are eligible to apply.
  • The right to appeal the layoff.

I am a veteran. Is there any sort of preference for veterans in layoff?

Yes. Up to five (5) years of military service is added to the unbroken state service of eligible veterans for seniority calculation purposes. See WAC 357-46-060 .

I am a Civil Service employee in my probationary period. If I am laid off, am I eligible for layoff options and to be on layoff lists?

No. Employees must have permanent status to be given options and to be placed on a layoff list.

I have worked in a project position long enough to attain permanent status. Now the project is ending. Can I request to have my name placed on a layoff list?

If you have permanent status, in a project position, you may have options within the specified project and you may be eligible to be on internal WSU and statewide layoff lists. (See BPPM 60.23, Project Employment–Civil Service, for project appointment information.)

What department is responsible for determining layoff options?

Human Resource Services is the primary office responsible for determining employee layoff options.

What is a “layoff option”?

Within a layoff unit, a permanent employee impacted by layoff must be offered the option to take a position, if available. The layoff option criteria is outlined in BPPM 60.37, Layoff–Civil Service Employees.

What is a “layoff unit”?

Layoff units are defined in BPPM 60.37 Layoff–Civil Service Employees.

There is a possibility that I may be, or I have been “bumped.” What does that mean?

Someone with more seniority than you was laid off. Their layoff option was to your position, and they claimed that position so they could remain employed. Layoff seniority is calculated in accordance with BPPM 60.37 Layoff–Civil Service Employees.

My layoff option includes a “less than comparable” position. What does that mean?

WSU defines a Comparable Position in the layoff unit for full-time, 12-month positions, as 40 hours per week and 12 months per year within a 50 mile radius. A less than comparable position would be a position with fewer hours or less months per year or at a further distance or all of the above. (BPPM 60.37 Layoff–Civil Service Employees.)

How soon can I request to have my name placed on a layoff list?

You can request to have your name on the WSU internal layoff list as soon as you receive written notice of the layoff, including the effective date. You may be eligible to have your name on more than one layoff list including the statewide list.

Will there be a call back list?

No. The University has an internal layoff list.

How long can a person stay on the internal layoff list?

A person can remain on the internal layoff list up to two (2) years.

What is the difference between the types of layoff lists?

There are two types of layoff lists. The internal WSU and statewide layoff lists are both maintained by job classification. Both lists are composed of laid off employees.

  • Internal Layoff List: The internal layoff list is used and maintained by WSU only.
  • Statewide Layoff List: The statewide layoff list is used by other state agencies (general government). Since general government agencies may also employ people with competencies, skills, and abilities that you possess, you can improve your opportunities to be rehired after layoff by getting on the statewide layoff list(s) for classes for which you qualify. Higher education institutions maintain their own statewide layoff list.

Is my name automatically placed on all statewide layoff lists?

No. Since each higher education institution maintains their own internal layoff lists, you need to apply separately to each institution. To be placed on the statewide layoff list, apply to the Department of Personnel (DOP) for employment in General Government. Visit the Washington State DES Layoff & General Government Transition Pool page for more information.

I had permanent status in classes that no longer exist or have been revised. Did this take away some of my layoff options?

If you previously held permanent status in a job class(es) that has been revised or abolished, WSU will determine the closest matching job class(es) to offer as a layoff option which must be at the same or lower salary range as the class from which you are being laid off.

Will workforce retraining be provided for those impacted by layoff?

For additional job resource information, contact your region’s unemployment office:

What will happen to my benefits and retirement?

HRS has detailed information regarding benefits and retirement for employees that have been laid off available on our website. Visit the Benefits Separating Employee Information page. You may also contact HRS at 509-335-4521 or benefits@wsu.edu.

Can medical insurance be used up to the last day of employment?

Medical insurance is effective through the month of separation. This can be verified through Benefits.

Is there a Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive for civil service employees who participate in the PERMS retirement programs?

There is no incentive at this time.

Am I eligible for unemployment compensation?

An employee separating from WSU may qualify for unemployment benefits. For information on unemployment benefits and additional information can be found in the Financial Resources section of the Separation pages or accessed through Employment Security Department (ESD).

Administrative Professional (AP): Discontinuation of Appointment

Where can I find the WSU policy regarding Discontinuation of Appointment or other appointment ending information?

Information regarding all types of separation for AP employees can be found in the AP Handbook.

If I have a pre-established appointment end date, what does that mean?

AP appointments with a pre-established end date automatically terminate on the date indicated on the most recent Personnel Action Form. These appointments are sometimes referred to as “temporary AP appointments.”

Appointments supported by extramural grants or contracts may be terminated, if the supporting grant or contract is terminated prior to that end date.

Appointments with a pre-established end date or supported by an extramural grant or contract may be terminated prior to the end date with a thirty (30) day written notice from the appointing authority.

What is a Discontinuation of Appointment?

Discontinuation of an appointment pursuant to the notice requirements is not “Termination for Cause” and does not reflect poor performance, misconduct or other cause for termination.

AP employees hired on or before June 30, 2004, on appointments without end dates shall be entitled to minimum advance notice of discontinuation of appointment in accordance with the following:

Years of ServiceNotice Period
Less than 1 year30 days
1 to 2 years60 days
More than 2 years180 days

AP employees hired on or after July 1, 2004, on appointments without end dates shall be entitled to minimum advance notice of discontinuation of appointment in accordance with the following:

Years of ServiceNotice Period
Less than 1 year30 days
1 to 2 years60 days
More than 2 years90 days

What if I previously held status in Civil Service?

In accordance with RCW 41.06.070, an AP employee who held permanent status as a Civil Service employee and subsequently accepted an AP appointment without a break in service has return rights back to Civil Service.

What if I held permanent status as a civil service employee and my discontinuation notice does not include the information regarding my return rights?

My full time equivalency (FTE) is being reduced due to the budget. What type of notice will I receive?

AP employees will receive a 30 day notice prior to the effective date of change.

What will happen to my benefits and retirement?

HRS has detailed information regarding benefits and retirement for employees that have been laid off available on our website. Visit the Separating Employee Information page. You may also contact HRS at 509-335-4521 or benefits@wsu.edu.

Am I eligible for unemployment compensation?

An employee separating from WSU may qualify for unemployment benefits. For information on unemployment benefits and additional information can be found in the Financial Resources section of the Separation pages or accessed through Employment Security Department (ESD).

Faculty: Non-Reappointment

Where can I find policies regarding non-reappointment or other appointment ending information?

Information regarding all types of separation for Faculty can be found in the Faculty Manual in the following sections:

  • Financial Exigency or discontinuance of a program or department of instruction, research or service: Section III.E.3.
  • For Faculty on Terminal Appointments (Fixed Term) and Contingent (Indefinite Term) Appointments: Section III.E.
    • Faculty with a Terminal Date: Current appointment ends on the pre-established end date.
    • Faculty on continuous appointments (without an end date):
Annual – 1 year or less3 months
Annual – More than 1 year but less than 2 years6 months
Annual – 2 years or more12 months
Academic – 1 year or less3 months
Academic – More than 1 year but less than 2 years6 months
Academic – 2 years or more9 months

What if I previously held status in Civil Service without a break in service?

In accordance with RCW 41.06.070, a Faculty employee who held permanent status as a Civil Service Employee and subsequently accepted a Faculty appointment without a break in service has return rights back to Civil Service.

What if I held permanent status as a civil service employee and my discontinuation notice does not include the information regarding my return rights?

What will happen to my benefits and retirement?

HRS has detailed information regarding benefits and retirement for faculty whose appointments are ending on our website. Visit the Separating Employee Information page.

You may also contact HRS at 335-4521 or benefits@wsu.edu.

Am I eligible for unemployment compensation?

An employee separating from WSU may qualify for unemployment benefits. For information on unemployment benefits and additional information can be found in the Financial Resources section of the Separation pages or accessed through Employment Security Department (ESD).

Last updated: June 2020