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University of Arizona delays start of campus-wide furloughs to July

University of Arizona delays start of campus-wide furloughs to July

From the May's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: Arizona schools to reopen in August, Tucson council approves plan for funding series
University of Arizona

The University of Arizona says fee increases are due to increasing minimum wages.

The University of Arizona is delaying the start of its furlough plan to July 1, according to an email Monday to faculty and staff from President Robert C. Robbins.

“Many of you have asked for more time to prepare for the financial impact on your households, and similarly, unit leaders have requested more time to plan for reduced workloads and adjusted organizational operations,” Robbins said in the email, which was obtained by the Arizona Daily Star.

The delay, one of a number of additional changes, represents at least the second modification to the plan since it was announced by Robbins on April 17 and was set to go into effect May 11. It also comes after a group of faculty and staff members asked for the pause, claiming the process behind the furloughs has not been transparent.

Other changes announced Monday were detailed in the email, as following:

  •  The UA’s furlough-based salary program is modified for many employees and begins July 1.
  •  Employees earning $44,500 or more participating in the furlough-based salary program will now receive personal time that can be used during the year.
  •  Administrators earning $300,000 or more annually, including executive administrators, participating in the furlough-based salary program will not receive a balance of personal flex time. A voluntary pay cut UA senior leaders took will continue.
  •  The UA is seeking regents’ approval to increase the maximum allowable amount of vacation leave hours that can transfer from one calendar year to the next.
  •  The supplemental pay programs on campus, known as Other Professional Services and Supplemental Compensation, will now be exempt from reductions or reduced rates .

Some 1,150 UA employees made at least $150,001, while 3,400 employees made between $75,000 and $150,000, according to a Star review of the UA’s most recent salary database from fiscal year 2019. It shows 14,604 employees made less $75,000 a year.

Robbins has previously said the pay cuts would save the university $93 million as it anticipates losing upward of $250 million due to coronavirus.

In the email, Robbins said the financial challenges “have not changed” and that the modifications to the furlough program “facilitate more predictable and evenly applied savings to the institution.”

“Thank you for your adaptability, determination and compassion in fine-tuning this program so that we can achieve our goals and minimize, as much as possible, the disruption of our mission.

“I truly appreciate all your efforts to help our University survive and thrive during these unprecedented times,” he said.

Contact reporter Justin Sayers at jsayers1@tucson.com or 573-4192. Twitter: @_JustinSayers. Facebook: JustinSSayers.

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