June 4, 2015
Additional budget and furlough frequently asked questions
As of this morning, the state does not have an approved budget for the next fiscal year. The House of Representatives approved a budget yesterday to avoid furloughs but the budget will require approval by the Senate and signature by the governor. The governor has publicly stated that he will not sign a budget without a tax package to generate adequate revenue.
The situation remains very fluid and subject to change with little notice. Please follow media reports, social media and check the websites included below. Supervisors are asked to make sure all employees are aware of this information.
How will I know if I am going to be furloughed or not?
Employees will be informed no later than noon Friday, June 5, whether they are to be furloughed or not, effective 12:01 a.m. Sunday, June 7. Employees will then need to check the State Employee Service Center website beginning Saturday evening to see if the furloughs will still take place.
We will use K-State Today, social media and the K-State website to inform employees of the status.
Why would an emergency furlough be implemented?
Without an approved budget by the Legislature by 11:59 p.m. June 6, there is no funding authority to distribute funds to cover the first pay period in Fiscal Year 2016, which begins June 7. In that case, employees will be furloughed until a budget is approved.
Who will be furloughed?
All employees, including student workers, will be furloughed with a few exceptions listed below.
Who will not be furloughed and who makes this determination?
Employees on a H1-B visa or E-3 visa status and employees who are designated by the president, provost and division vice presidents. They will consult with deans and unit leaders and use the Kansas Board of Regents Guiding Principles. Those employees may include:
- Employees who are essential to instructional delivery, academic and student life support.
- Police and security officers.
- Employees providing direct animal care.
- Employees who are needed due to federally mandated functions for safety and security purposes — such as the Biosecurity Research Institute and K-State's nuclear reactor.
- Employees who support research and labs that operate 24/7.
Can I use accrued leave during the furlough period?
No, furloughed employees cannot use accrued earned leave to offset the impact of the furlough.
How will my benefits be affected?
- Health insurance
• If an employee is furloughed less than 31 consecutive days, his or her State Employee Health Plan, or SEHP, enrollment will remain unaffected. As long as there is sufficient payroll to take deductions, enrollment in the SEHP will not cease or be suspended. If the employee has not earned enough during the pay period to deduct the employee’s contribution amount, the employee will be required to remit the proper contribution amount on a schedule consistent with the semi-monthly pay periods. The employee's portion of the SEHP premium should be collected by K-State. Collections are on an after-tax basis.
• If an employee is placed on extended furlough for a period of 31 days or longer and wishes to continue in the SEHP, the employee will be eligible to continue as a Direct Bill program member and will be responsible for the entire cost of the coverage.
- Health savings account contributions from the university
• The second deposit for 2015 may be delayed until the furlough is lifted.
• Employees participating in retirement through the Kansas Employees Retirement System, or KPERS, and Kansas Police and Fire, or KP&F, will continue with retirement benefits as if no furlough had taken place.
• Employees participating in the Kansas Board of Regents Retirement Plan will have contributions made based upon salary paid.
- Life insurance
• Basic life insurance will be continued for employees for up to 12 months.
• Employees with Optional Life Insurance or TEA Optional can choose a direct pay method and continue coverage for 12 months. After 12 months, the employee must convert or port to keep coverage.
• Leave will continue to be accrued based on hours in pay status.
If I am on an H-1B visa or E-3 visa, will I be required to take furlough?
No. These employees are exempted from furlough.
The PPM states that I must be given 30 days notice, so this won’t affect me, right?
The PPM refers to administrative furloughs. In this case, we are anticipating an emergency furlough, which does not require advance notice.
Are employees entitled to unemployment compensation while on furlough?
You may be eligible, only to the extent that the furlough lasts longer than seven days. More information is available from the State of Kansas Department of Labor.
Does this apply to Regents institutions or just state agencies?
The furlough applies to all state colleges and universities as well as other state agencies.
If we are able to return to work during the week, can I work overtime to make up for the lost pay?
No. Overtime or compensatory time may not be granted to compensate an employee for the loss of pay resulting from a period of furlough.
I am a K-State Student Union employee. Will I be affected?
No. Employees of our local agencies — e.g. Athletics, K-State Student Union, Student Publications — are not mandated by the state furlough.
Will any time that I am furloughed count against my length of service?
No. The time that an employee is furloughed will continue to count toward the employee's length of service.
What if I am on approved leave when I am supposed to be furloughed?
Employees who are furloughed but had been preapproved for leave for a period of time that falls within a furlough will be placed in leave without pay status during the furlough just like all other employees who are furloughed. The leave for which the employee had been preapproved will not be used and will not be deducted from the employee's leave balance.
Can I choose to report to work during the furlough?
No. Employees who report to work or perform their work duties during furlough time are subject to discipline.
How will my paycheck be affected?
Your pay will be reduced by the number of furlough hours that are applied during any given pay period.
Can my furlough status be changed?
Yes, dependent upon the needs of the university to ensure the continuation of essential services with minimum disruption to the institution, particularly with respect to the maintenance of student services.
What support is available?
The Employee Assistance Program, EAP, has a variety of resources available to you including counseling and money management assistance. Call 1-888-275-1205 and select option 7.
More information on furloughs has been provided by the Kansas Department of Administration. Additional questions regarding furloughs at K-State may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.