University employees concerned about scheduling furlough days now have an option that allows them to comply with the mandated salary reduction without taking entire unpaid days off.
University officials announced this week a furlough alternative that will allow employees to opt for a straight temporary salary reduction. With this choice, academic professionals and faculty members would not be subject to the work-hour restrictions or time-keeping requirements of the original furlough program. Bob Easter, who serves as interim chancellor and provost, said university officials decided to give employees the choice because many voiced concerns about scheduling conflicts during specific times over the next few months.
"The feedback I've received regarding our current budget crisis on campus has not only been extremely helpful, but it also has confirmed what I've always believed: People care deeply and passionately about this university," Easter said. "That same constructive feedback led directly to an option to furloughs, a voluntary and temporary salary reduction. And we are pleased to be able to offer that alternative to our faculty members and academic professionals."
The total pay reduction would be the same for both options.
Those who choose not to elect the voluntary salary reduction option are subject to the original furlough program. Employees who opt for the salary reduction must complete an authorization on NESSIE between Jan. 26 and Feb. 8.
For more information about both salary-reduction options and the retirement ramifications, see the information posted on the University Human Resources Web site.
UI officials have been forced to examine areas where costs can be reduced this year because of the state's lagging in more than $400 million in its systemwide appropriations payments this fiscal year.
A working group appointed by interim president Stanley Ikenberry in November is exploring ways to reduce administrative costs over the next three years in university administration and on all three campuses. This group is expected to present a preliminary report - focused on the areas of information technology, purchasing and consolidation of administrative services - to the UI Board of Trustees at its meeting Thursday in Chicago.
In a joint interview with Ikenberry broadcast on WILL-TV Jan. 11, Easter said the Urbana campus payroll was reduced by more than $1.2 million this past year by leaving vacant several administrative and clerical positions - many in the Swanlund Administration Building - that opened through retirements and other attrition.
"Over time, as people retire and move on to other careers, there's the opportunity to think carefully about what we really need to be a high-quality program in a particular area," Easter said.
"One thing we can do is tighten the belt on administrative costs and shrink them wherever we can," Ikenberry said. "We need to find a way to both improve the quality and the responsiveness of administrative services while at the same time reducing costs. Part of that will be taking a fresh look at our academic priorities."
A calculator is available to assist employees in determining the impact a furlough day will have on their take-home pay. See "Monthly Net Pay Calculator - 2010" located on the OBFS Payroll and Earnings Web page.