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Furlough & Pay Reduction Program

Frequently Asked Questions

The program covers most full-time faculty and staff (hourly and salaried) and full-time positions paid through AU’s payroll partner, nextSource.

Some university employees who are excluded from the program include:

  • Full-time faculty and staff with a base salary of $40K or less as of June 19, 2020
  • Part-time faculty (adjunct faculty) and part-time staff
  • Undergraduate student employees
  • Graduate student financial aid awardees
  • Employees hired on or after January 1, 2021
  • Employees who terminate prior to January 1, 2021
  • H-1B visa holders
  • Full-time faculty and staff funded more than 50% from external research grants or sponsored projects
  • Faculty with signed phased or early retirement agreements
  • Faculty with one semester appointments (e.g., fall 2020 only or spring 2021 only)

AU’s furlough program is a temporary salary reduction that affects base salary for paychecks (biweekly and monthly) issued in January, February, and March 2021 and the amount will be equally spread across each pay period.

The reduction does not include overtime pay, shift differentials, overload pay or stipend payments.

5 unpaid days represent approximately 2% of your base annual salary, but keep in mind that the reduction will be taken over a 3-month period, not 12. Use the Base Salary Reduction in Pay Estimator Table on the home page estimate the impact on your gross wages (earnings before taxes and deductions) in January, February and March 2021. Your tax withholdings and deductions will affect your take home pay.

Pay Schedule for Bi-Weekly Employees
Bi-Weekly Pay Period Pay Day
12/26/20 - 01/08/21 01/22/21
01/09/21 - 01/22/21 02/05/21
01/23/21 - 02/05/21 02/19/21
02/06/21 - 02/19/21 03/05/21
02/20/21 - 03/05/21 03/19/21
03/06/21 - 03/19/21 04/02/21
Pay Schedule for Monthly Employees
Monthly Pay Period Pay Day
01/01/21 - 01/31/21 01/29/21
02/01/21 - 02/28/21 02/26/21
03/01/21 – 03/31/21 03/31/21
  • The program period to take the unpaid days of leave begins on November 1, 2020 and ends on April 9, 2021. Advise your supervisor on your preferred days off, at least 2 weeks in advance, and they should make every effort to accommodate your request or work with you to find mutually acceptable alternate dates. Departments will ensure coverage of mission-critical work through advanced planning so that there are some people working who may be able to address emergencies while other staff are off. Days may be taken in consecutive or intermittent full-day increments.
  • Days may be taken adjacent to other leave time and holidays.
  • Supervisors will approve the selected unpaid days for staff.
  • Faculty may take five days of leave on non-teaching days.

If you do not take 5 days of unpaid leave by April 9, 2021, you will forfeit any unused days of leave and you will not receive compensation for days not taken.

Employees should not perform university work during their unpaid days off, including checking emails, performing job duties, or taking calls. As part of scheduling for furlough days, supervisors should ensure that mission-critical work and minor emergencies will be covered for the employee on leave.

With that said, there may be exceptions where an urgent matter requires an employee to do work on behalf of the university on their unpaid day off. In this case, another mutually agreed upon day should be selected as a furlough day.

If an employee feels obligated or pressured to work on an unpaid day without an emergency, they should contact employeerelations@american.edu.

Supervisors are to collect the preferred days from each employee, assess overall coverage in their department, and work with individual employees to address any gaps. If it is necessary for an employee to work on an unpaid day in response to an unforeseen situation, that day will not be counted toward the employee’s required five days. The employee and the supervisor will identify a future date for the employee’s rescheduled unpaid day.

Employees will submit their preferred furlough days to their supervisor at least two weeks in advance of their requested date, confirm approval and not perform work for the university on the agreed upon furlough days.

Staff record furlough days using a newly created leave type on their time sheets and leave reports beginning on November 1, 2020. Biweekly employees will have a leave type “FDOB” (“furlough day off biweekly”), and monthly employees will have a leave type “FDOM” (“furlough day off monthly”) in their timesheets.

Your base salary is the amount of your annual salary, not including any overtime pay, shift differentials, overload pay, or stipend payments.

To calculate your base pay is, log in to the AU portal:

  • Under the Work@AU drop down at the top, click on Wage Statements
  • Go to your wage statement list, select the most recent wage statement that says “rate change”, and click “view statement”
  • If you are newly hired, go to your wage statement list, select the wage statement that say “at hire”, and click “view statement”
  • If you are paid biweekly, use your hourly rate to calculate your base salary:
    • 28-hour employees: hourly rate x 1456 = base salary
    • 35-hour employees: hourly rate x 1820 = base salary
    • 40-hour employees: hourly rate x 2080 = base salary
  • If you are paid monthly, use your regular earnings this period x 12 to calculate your base salary. Note for faculty on 9, 10, or 11 month contracts, you would multiply by the number of months of your contract.
  • There are no impacts to payroll deductions or benefit coverage for AU’s medical, dental, disability or life insurance plans.
  • Leave accruals for sick and annual leave will not be impacted.
  • Your contributions to the AU 403(b) plan will decrease because it is based on your set contribution percentage of your temporarily reduced salary in January through March 2021.
  • Faculty or staff members on approved family or medical leave during the period of January through March 2021 will have their pay reduction delayed until they return. 

Employee positions funded more than 50% from external funding are excluded from the furlough program. Any positions that are externally funded 50% or less are subject to the furlough.

Based on our research on the provisions of DC unemployment compensation, generally employees will not be eligible for unemployment compensation in connection with the furlough because they are remaining actively employed and for most employees, their weekly wages will not fall below $444 per week.  However, we would not discourage anyone from applying given that individual circumstances vary.  More information can be found about applying for DC unemployment at the DOES website. 

No, vacation or sick leave cannot be used in place of a furlough day. Furlough days are unpaid days.

Unused furlough days cannot be “paid out” if an employee leaves the University. Unused days will not impact the temporary payroll reduction. Days to take the unpaid leave expires on April 9, 2021.

It is possible to take a furlough day on a holiday if you choose and your supervisor agrees, but you would lose one of your days off and pay would still be reduced for five unpaid days during the January – March 2021 period.

Recently the university announced an extension to the furlough period. Days now may be taken to April 9, 2021. Days may only be taken within the furlough period of November 1, 2020 through April 9, 2021.   

Your supervisor should check with your department head to see if this is a viable option.

HR is working with departments who have faculty and staff whose positions are funded with external funds.  Once this analysis is complete, the departments will notify individuals about their furlough status. 

Yes, faculty on sabbatical or research leave are still subject to the furlough, unless they are grant funded at over 50% and notified by their department that they are exempt.   

Your furlough week will reflect your normal work schedule. For example, if you are normally scheduled to work four 10-hour days each week, you will take four 10-hour furlough days. If you are normally scheduled to work 28 hours a week, for four 7-hour days, you will take four 7-hour furlough days. 

The table represents an estimate of salary reduction per paycheck. 

Which furlough days you will take is something you will work out with your supervisor. HR does not need to be notified, however, please make sure to note the days on your timesheet/leave report. 

Here is some suggested language for a furlough out of office message. 

“I am out of the office on furlough and unavailable to respond to email between the dates of ____________________, 2020 and ____________________, 2020.  If this matter is in need of immediate assistance, please email _____________________ or call ___________ and someone will be able to provide support.  I will respond to emails once I return to the office.” 

It is not required that you say that you are on furlough, nor is it required that you refrain from saying it.