As you know, Extension has continued to reduce costs in light of the continuing economic challenges at the local, national and global levels. In the past few years, we have reduced administrative costs by closing two regional offices, consolidating several functions in administrative units and delaying or not filling some positions--including faculty, P&A, bargaining unit and civil service positions--following a departure. Extension will also have savings from the University-wide furlough and temporary salary reduction plans.
Discussions about these mandatory University cost-saving efforts have raised questions about voluntary furloughs as well. While information continues to be available and updated on the Extension and the Economy website, I want to use today's column to answer these questions for all Extension employees.
Under the University's plan, all employees can request up to 7 days of voluntary furlough. All requests for voluntary furlough should be discussed with your supervisor. A University request form will be available in the next few weeks. In addition, University employees are eligible to request a reduction in their current appointment based on the options available for their employee group--faculty, P&A, civil service and civil service bargaining unit. Options for voluntary reduction are available for each employee group, however, the programs vary.
Faculty, P&A, and civil service employees are eligible for the University's RECESS program which allows employees to reduce their work effort to as low as 50%, while still receiving the same University contribution toward medical and dental benefits that they had prior to the reduction. Employees represented by the Teamsters, the AFSCME 3800 (clerical) and AFSCME 3937 (technical) unions, should review their specific governing documents for information on the program that is available to them. Employees with federal benefits should contact Kathy Murphy, federal benefits coordinator, at email@example.com to determine the effect a reduction in time would have on their employer contribution to medical benefits.
In addition, employees can request voluntary leaves without pay, voluntary layoffs (CS/BU employees) and voluntary non-renewals (P&A). Tenured faculty also have an option of requesting a phased retirement.
All requests should be made directly to supervisors for review. Please keep in mind that there is no guarantee a request will be granted. In addition to considering the preferences of the employee, we will also need to take into account the impact on Extension programs and the employee's unit. For more information about any of these programs, please contact Leslee Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org or JoAnn Hardy at email@example.com in Extension Human Resources.
And, in response to another common question related to voluntary furloughs and reductions: All savings from voluntary reductions will be retained in the central Extension budget and not in the Center or program budgets.