Furlough & Reduction in Compensation FAQs
What is a mandatory furlough?
A furlough is a temporary cessation of work where employees retain their jobs but do not get paid for a specified number of hours or days within a specified time frame. Individuals on furlough are still considered employees.
What is the time period furlough days should be taken?
The time frame is determined by the department’s specific furlough plan.
How many furlough days does an employee need to take?
The number of days will be determined based on the department’s specific furlough plan.
Will a furlough be considered a break in service?
No. A furlough is an unpaid leave of absence but does not constitute a break in service.
Who may be included in the furlough plan?
The furlough plan includes all full and part-time employees in regular positions as well as those on contractual agreements.
Are there any exclusions or exceptions to the furlough plan?
The following employees are excluded from the furlough plan:
- Employees compensated at a total annual salary of less than $40,000.
- The United States Department of Labor Regulations (20 CFR 655.731) does not allow the wages of employees working on a H1B visa to be reduced through a mandatory furlough.
Does the furlough plan include new hires?
New hires are also subject to the mandatory furlough and will be advised upon an offer of employment.
Will employees receive a furlough letter of notification?
Employees will be notified in writing by the Department of Human Resources. The notification will include the furlough period and the furlough days.
Can employees perform work for the University while on furlough?
No. When employees are on furlough, they shall not perform any work functions for the University. This includes responding to work emails, accessing systems, or any other work for the University.
Can an employee grieve being placed on a mandatory furlough program?
The placement of an employee on mandatory furlough does not constitute grounds for a grievance or appeal under the University Grievance policy.
Should employees have an “Out of Office” notification on their office phone and work
email during the time they are on furlough?
Yes. Employees should not work while on furlough, therefore, an out of office notification should be turned on to notify others that they will not be able to respond during the time they are on furlough. The out of office notification should also provide an alternate employee or department contact information so that the continuous operations of the department are not negatively affected.
How will a furlough impact an employee’s paycheck?
Non-exempt employees: The employee’s paycheck will be reduced by the number of days or total hours the employee did not work during the pay period due to the furlough.
Exempt employees: The employee’s paycheck will be reduced by the number of days the employee did not work during the month due to the furlough.
Will employees continue to earn annual and sick leave while on furlough?
Yes. Eligible 12-month employees in regular positions will continue to earn leave at their regular earnings rate while on furlough.
Can a furlough day be taken before or after a paid holiday?
A furlough day may be taken before or after a paid holiday, however, it is not recommended. Per University Policy HR5020 – University Holidays, all regular full-time and part-time employees must be in active pay status on the work days immediately preceding and following a holiday to receive payment for the holiday. A list of all available University Holidays may be found at: https://www.memphis.edu/hr/holidays.php.
Will a furlough impact state service date?
An employee’s state hire date, continuous service date, and performance review date will not be adjusted due to the furlough.
How does the furlough impact dual employment?
The furlough applies only to the employee’s primary job. It does not impact salary payments relating to dual employment.
Can an employee perform the functions of their dual employment assignment while on
Yes, an employee may perform functions of their dual employment assignment since the furlough only relates to the employee’s primary job.
Can an employee work overtime to offset a furlough?
No, employees may not work additional hours in their primary positions to make up for unpaid furlough time.
Are employees on mandatory furlough eligible for unemployment?
An employee may be eligible for weekly unemployment compensation if during a particular week the employee earns less than their maximum weekly unemployment benefit amount. For more information about unemployment benefits, visit the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development website.
Do the total furlough days need to be taken all at one time?
No. An employee may take their furlough days any time within the pre-determined furlough period provided they have been approved by their supervisor.
Exempt (monthly-paid) employees must take their furlough days in five consecutive full day increments within the same work week (Monday through Friday). Any remaining balance of less than five furlough days will be taken during one additional work week; in such instances employees may be required to track hours worked to assure compliance with this policy and applicable laws.
Can I use my other types of leave benefits to offset a furlough day?
No. Employees cannot use sick leave, annual leave, paid parental leave, etc. to offset a furlough day.
Does a supervisor need to approve furlough days?
A supervisor must approve when your furlough days will be taken. A supervisor may also recommend certain dates to be on furlough to avoid disruptions to business operations.
Can an employee take their furlough days while telecommuting?
Yes. An employee may take their furlough days whether they are working remotely or on campus; however, employees must refrain from working on furlough days.
How are furlough days scheduled?
Employees must discuss their proposed furlough days with their supervisors.
- Non-exempt employees: upon verbal approval from their supervisor, the furlough days or hours must be entered on their time timesheet during the pay period the furlough days or hours were taken.
- Exempt employees: must complete the Exempt (Monthly-Paid) Employee Furlough Request form to seek approval from their supervisor.
Can an employee take furlough as a half-day periodically throughout the furlough period?
Exempt employees must take their furlough days in five consecutive full day increments within the same work week (Monday through Friday); however, since non-exempt employees may furlough days and/or hours, they are not restricted to the number of days they may furlough in a given week or the number of hours on a given day.