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Human Capital Services

Human Capital Services
Kansas State University
103 Edwards Hall
1810 Kerr Drive
Manhattan, KS 66506-4801

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email: hr@ksu.edu 

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Administrative Furlough Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Human Capital Services provides guidance below for some of the most common administrative furlough questions that employees may have during this time. Please continue to check back often as new FAQs will be added as needed.

(Updated July 24, 2020)

GENERAL QUESTIONS

1. What is a Furlough?

A furlough is the placement of an employee in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status because of lack of work or funds, or other non-disciplinary reasons. It is a mandatory leave without pay status for a preset number of hours during each pay period covered by the furlough.

 

2. What is an administrative furlough and how is it different from an emergency furlough?

An administrative furlough is a planned short-term action designed to address budget reductions necessitated by reasons other than a lapse in appropriations. Unlike an emergency furlough, an administrative furlough is implemented after a consultation with both the Faculty Senate and University Support Staff Senate, followed by an open meeting with the university community to explain the need for such action. Employees impacted by administrative furlough will be given as much advance notice as possible but not less than 30 calendar days prior to implementation of the furlough of an administrative furlough. To learn more about the differences, please visit PPM 4085.

 

3. Who is being furloughed?

Employees who work in areas where a college or unit has identified the need for budget reductions in FY21 may be impacted by an administrative furlough. A notification will be sent to impacted employees from the college or unit.

Some positions may be exempted from a furlough due to their duties and responsibilities with regards to public safety, teaching, research, extension, and student, patient and animal care, or as otherwise determined by the President. The Deans/Vice Presidents determine their furlough plan in order to meet their budget cuts and to preserve mission critical work.

 

4. If I am an exempt (salaried) employee, can I perform work during the furlough period?

No, there is no exception to this. An employee who received furlough notification cannot work whether salaried or hourly during the furlough period timeframe. In addition, a furloughed employee cannot volunteer to work for the university during the furlough period. 

 

5. I have been assigned a specific number of furlough days, is there anything I need to know?

Employees must take furlough days in full day increments. Employees must take the entirety of their full allotment of administrative furlough days by the end of the administrative furlough period. You are encouraged to work with your immediate supervisor regarding the schedule of your furlough days.

  

6. Are bargaining unit employees impacted differently during a furlough?

There is no distinction between positions held by bargaining unit employees and non-bargaining unit employees in the event of an emergency furlough due to a lapse of funding.

 

7. May employees take other jobs while on furlough?

Yes, as long as it complies with existing ethics and other requirements for outside employment. While on furlough, the employee remains an employee of K-State and therefore is expected to report to work when requested. Before accepting outside employment, if not choosing to resign, you should consult with your immediate supervisor. See University Handbook Appendix S.

 

8. Will any time that I am furloughed count against my State of Kansas length of service?

The furlough will not affect your continuous service. You will retain your seniority and your continuous service, length of service, anniversary date. See FAQ question #56 below regarding KPERS service credit.

 

9. As a USS employee, will I receive my Longevity Bonus Pay while on furlough?

If you are eligible, you will receive your longevity bonus pay as scheduled.

 

10. Some employees on 12-month contracts (particularly administrators) would prefer to take furlough time sometime over the summer before the fall semester starts. Given the timeline for the administrative furlough process, would that be possible?

No, the earliest administrative furlough can begin is August 9 and must conclude by the end of the furlough period as indicated in the college/unit’s administrative furlough plan.

 

11. How will furloughs be applied to part-time employees?

A furlough day for a part time employee will represent their normal scheduled hours for a day, e.g. if an employee was normally scheduled for 4 hours their furlough day would be 4 hours. 

 

 

FURLOUGH PLANNING

12. I have received notice that I am responsible for a specified number of furlough days. Can I take these furlough days in half-day increments to minimize the effect of decreased salary over the course of the year (i.e. 10 half days over a 10 pay periods)?

Furlough days must be taken in full day increments and you are encouraged to work with your immediate supervisor regarding the schedule of your furlough days.

 

13. Do I need to take furlough days as a block of time?

HCS recommends that units/colleges utilize full furlough weeks where possible. Partial furlough weeks are an option and there is flexibility for this to be defined in the plan.

 

14. Can employees mix furlough and voluntary salary reduction? And in what proportions?

No, you must choose one or the other.

 

15. How will furlough days be enforced? (i.e. will K-State email accounts be disabled on furlough days?) What are the consequences for access to K-State resources of taking furlough days? (email, OneDrive, databases, etc.).

Supervisors are responsible for employees complying with not working on furlough days. Employees on furlough will retain access to electronic resources, including email.

 

16. What are the penalties for working while furloughed?

Employees must be paid for all hours worked. Working on furlough days will require taking another furlough day. Employees who do not comply with furlough days may be subject to discipline. Contact Employee Relations & Engagement for further guidance.

 

17. What counts as “work”? Is professional development, collaboration with colleagues at other institutions, service to professional organizations, etc., allowed?

Anything related to your official duties for K-State or work that you would normally do for pay at the university counts as work which includes K-State committees. If faculty members provide service that would be recorded on an activity report and be evaluated on, it is considered work. Services or work that you provide or contribute to outside organizations such as a professional association or consulting would not be considered time worked.

 

18. What if an employee on furlough is contacted about a mission-critical work, such as a failing piece of equipment. Can the employee respond?

Supervisors should plan for the absence(s) during furlough days. In an extreme situation where employees must be contacted for an emergency work-related items, that day will no longer count as a furlough leave without pay date. The employee must be paid and the remainder of the day the employee may work or use accrued leave. The supervisor will need to establish another furlough date to make up for when the employee was called to work.

 

19. Can I determine when I take my furlough days and what is the approval process?

Colleges/units will craft their furlough plans and may identify days or periods that must be taken as furlough days to preserve mission critical work or to avoid cancellation of classes. Colleges/units may, in their plans, allow employees to identify their own furlough days to be taken with supervisor approval.

 

20. Is there a way to reassign the furlough day to another day if mission critical work arises while I am on furlough?

Employees should work with their college/unit to schedule furlough days. The college/unit should ensure they have plans to cover any work that employee does while out on furlough. There may be times when critical work arises, and the furloughed employee needs to engage in work. If that occurs, the employee will be paid for that day. The employee is responsible for working with their supervisor to schedule an alternative furlough day.

 

21. This question intentionally left blank
 

 

22. If I am on administrative furlough, may I be called back to work?

If an employee was initially scheduled to be on administrative furlough and circumstances change, it may be determined the employee needs to report to work and the employee will be contacted by the department. 

 

23. If I am furloughed, I am still planning to work and just won't report the time. Is that Okay?

Employees who are furloughed are not to perform any work for the duration of the furloughed period. While the dedication and sentiment that motivates this kind of offer is definitely appreciated, the Department of Labor cannot allow employees to perform work and not be paid for it. If employees work without prior approval, the employee could be faced with disciplinary action up to and including decision-making leave (USS), demotion, and/or dismissal.

 

24. Will any time that I am furloughed count against my length of service?

The furlough will not affect your continuous service. You will retain your seniority and your continuous service, length of service, and anniversary date. 

 

VOLUNTARY SALARY REDUCTION

25. Who is eligible for a voluntary salary reduction?

Employees who are exempt (salaried) employees are eligible for the voluntary salary reduction. This is not an option for non-exempt (hourly) employees.

 

26. As an exempt (salaried) employee, how do I know which option is best for me?

The chart below may assist employees in deciding which option is the best option for them.  

Furlough Days vs. Voluntary Salary Reduction

FURLOUGH DAYS
VOLUNTARY SALARY REDUCTION

You may be eligible for unemployment benefits.
(Please visit the Kansas Department of Labor for more information)

You will not be eligible
for unemployment benefits.

You are responsible for taking specified number of furlough days.

You will not be required to
take mandatory unpaid 
furlough days.

Due to FLSA regulations, you are responsible for tracking your hours each week that you take a furlough day(s). All hours combined may not equal more than 40 hours. If you are an exempt, salaried employee, any week you take a furlough day you will essentially become non-exempt.

You will not be required to
track hours work.

A furlough day is a 24-hour period (12:00 a.m. - 11:59 p.m.). Regardless of your schedule, you may not work any hours on a day designated as a furlough day.

You will not be required to
track furlough hours.

Your reduction in pay is reflected 
in the pay period when the 
furlough days are used.

Your reduction in pay is 
spread out evenly over 
the administrative furlough 
period.

Interruption in work may occur 
as a result of furlough days.
(mandatory leave without pay)

Interruption in work is unlikely 
as a result of a voluntary 
salary reduction.

Employees receive
unpaid time off.

Employees receive no
unpaid time off.

 

 

27. If I want to volunteer for a salary reduction, what are the appropriate steps to complete?

If you are impacted by administrative furlough and are an exempt (salaried) employee, you will receive a letter with instructions on how you will elect for your salary reduction. The process includes a survey link that must be completed by July 20.

 

28. Can I change my mind mid-year about which option I select? (e.g. I select furlough days for fall but I would like to elect for a salary reduction in the spring.)

The decision to elect a voluntary salary reduction in lieu of furlough is a one-time election and may not be changed once decided. That choice should be made carefully by each employee weighing their own situation and needs. 

 

29. If I choose a voluntary salary reduction, would I lose benefits or would those be protected like they are under a furlough?

An employee would not lose any benefits under a voluntary salary reduction. 

 

30. Can my college/unit approach me about taking a salary reduction?

College/units may not. A voluntary salary reduction process is available to FLSA exempt status employees and this option will be communicated to them when the furlough letter is received. The choice to elect a voluntary salary reduction is purely the decision of the employee.

 

31. Are employees able to discuss a voluntary salary reduction with others?

Colleagues may discuss the voluntary salary reduction with one another. If an employee is in an authority role, those individuals should refrain from those conversations. 

 

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

32. Can I file for unemployment if I am furloughed?

You may be eligible for unemployment benefits during this time. Furloughed employee may be required to serve a waiting week before benefits could be paid (please see FAQ #37 below). For information, please contact the Kansas Department of Labor unemployment center at 800-292-6333 or at https://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/Contact.aspx.

 

33. How does this administrative furlough impact my ability to claim unemployment?

Individual determinations of unemployment benefits are made by the Kansas Department of Labor. Employees who are furloughed for a full week(s) may be more likely to collect unemployment but this is not a guarantee of eligibility. Currently the one-week waiting period has been waived by KDOL until December of 2020. Review Department of Labor FAQ and video tutorials.

The Kansas Department of Labor’s website provides important information regarding unemployment benefits. Please review the website to find answers to many questions (taxation, timing of benefit, etc.).

 

34. How do I file an application for unemployment online?

Please go to www.GetKansasBenefits.gov and click Claimant. File an application for unemployment benefits if:

• You are filing a new application for unemployment
• You need to open your claim again and you have worked since the last time you filed.

Follow the instructions carefully. Your application is not complete until you reach the "Claimant Determination." It is highly encouraged to review the Department of Labor Frequently Asked Questions and the Video Tutorials before completing an online application.

 

35. How do I file another application if I have filed one in the past?

Please go to https://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/Home.aspx to file another online application for unemployment benefits or if you need to reopen an existing claim. Follow the instructions carefully. Your application is Not Complete until you reach the “Claimant Determination” page. During the process, you may be asked to print forms that must be filled out and returned to the Kansas Unemployment Contact Center. This is important information that will be used to determine if you are eligible for unemployment benefits. A delay in the return of those documents may cause your benefits to be denied.

If you have used the website to apply for unemployment benefits at another time, you must use the same user name and password created when you filed your first application.  If you cannot file online you can apply for unemployment benefits by calling the Unemployment Contact Center at 800-292-6333.  However, please note that there will be another wait time in determining benefits.

 

36. Will I receive unemployment benefits if I work and take administrative furlough during the same pay period?

You may be eligible for partial unemployment benefits while you are still working if your hours or pay have been reduced. The unemployment office will consider part-time employment in your work history when figuring your benefits.  You may receive partial benefits for a week in which you work less than full-time and earn less than your weekly benefit amount.

According to the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL), you may earn up to 25 percent of your weekly benefit amount (WBA) without a reduction to your unemployment benefits. Any earnings over 25 percent of your WBA will be deducted from your unemployment benefits on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

 

37. Will I have to serve a waiting period before receiving unemployment benefits?

According to the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL), your first week of unemployment may be a non-payable week. However, if denied the first week after filing the weekly claims, you need to file weekly claims if unemployed the week(s) thereafter. 

 

38. If I take my furloughs in blocks that take an entire pay period, will I have to pay my own insurance for that pay period?

For the duration of the furlough, active employee health insurance continues at the regular employee rate. This is the premium that is normally deducted from the paycheck (employee portion of total premium). If you don’t have a paycheck that is large enough, or a paycheck at all, your health insurance premiums will need to be remitted on a schedule consistent with the semi-monthly pay periods. This payment will be paid directly to Human Capital Services.  If you have scheduled furlough days that cause you to miss a paycheck, please contact your Benefits team at benefits@ksu.edu.

 

LEAVE QUESTIONS

39. Can I use my accrued leave during the administrative furlough period?

Yes, accrued leave may be taken during furlough.  However, you may not substitute an accrued day during a furlough day. A furlough day is a mandatory leave without pay. Regular department procedures for requesting days off apply. 

 

40. What happens to my sick and vacation leave accruals if I am furloughed?

An employee’s accrual of sick and vacation leave will be unaffected by a furlough. You will continue to accrue the amount of sick and vacation leave you would have accrued had the furlough not occurred. The vacation leave maximum accrual is 304 hours. This is a Kansas Board of Regents policy and maximums will not be increased.

 

41. Will I be paid for a holiday that occurs during the furlough period?

Furloughed employees will receive pay for a holiday that occurs during this time.

 

42. Will any time that I am furloughed count against my length of service?

The furlough will not affect your continuous service. You will retain your seniority and your continuous service, length of service, and anniversary date. 

 

43. What if I am on Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) during the furlough?

Employees who are off work due to qualifying FMLA circumstances may be subject to the furlough and placed on leave without pay of furlough days. No days reported as furlough will be counted against the employee’s 12-week FMLA leave entitlement.

 

44. What if I am on Shared Leave during the furlough?

Employees who are off work on Shared Leave may be subject to the furlough and placed on leave without pay on furlough days.

 

45. Can I take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave in place of a furlough day?

No, You may not use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave in lieu of a furlough day.

 

STATE EMPLOYEE HEALTH PLAN (SEHP) BENEFITS

46. What happens to my health insurance if I am furloughed? 

For the duration of the furlough, active employee health insurance continues at the regular employee rate. This is the premium that is normally deducted from the paycheck (employee portion of total premium). If you don’t have a paycheck that is large enough, or a paycheck at all, your health insurance premiums will need to be remitted on a schedule consistent with the semi-monthly pay periods. This payment will be paid directly to Human Capital Services.  If you have scheduled furlough days that cause you to miss a paycheck, please contact your Benefits team at benefits@ksu.edu

 

47. In the weeks that an exempt full-time employee takes a furlough day, do they become a part-time employee and how does that affect their health insurance premiums for that week since health insurance premium rates differ by full-time/part-time status?

FTE is not impacted by a furlough and full-time employees retain full-time benefits and part-time employees retain their part-time benefits. 

 

48. Can I change my Health Savings Account (HSA)?

You may change your HSA contribution at any time throughout the year. You’ll find the tutorial to do this at: https://www.k-state.edu/hcs/benefits/health/MAP-tutorials/1BenefitsMapsTutorial_make-hsa-change-and-calculation-instructions.pdf 

 

49. I want to change my Flexible Spending Health Account for medical expenses.  Can I?

You may make a change to your FSA health account if you have an IRS qualifying mid-year event. You will make the change in the State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) MAP portal.

 

50. I have the additional optional health coverage through MET. What happens to that coverage and premiums?

If you don’t have a paycheck that is large enough, or a paycheck at all, your optional MET health coverage premiums premiums will need to be remitted on a schedule consistent with the semi-monthly pay periods. This payment will be paid directly to Human Capital Services. If you have scheduled furlough days that cause you to miss a paycheck, please contact your Benefits team at benefits@ksu.edu

  

LIFE INSURANCE (BASIC AND OPTIONAL)

51. Will the basic life insurance benefit change if the employee is furloughed or takes a voluntary salary reduction?

Your basic coverage will continue to be paid by K-State for up to 12 months.

The basic life insurance benefit provided by Kansas State University has a coverage amount of 150% of the higher of: 

  • A member’s current annual rate of compensation, which is the member’s hourly wage times the number of hours the position requires, or
  • The member’s previous 12-month salary.

If you have the optional coverage and do not have a paycheck large enough for your premium, you may pay directly to the Standard for optional. For more information, contact benefits@ksu.edu  

 

KBOR RETIREMENT PLAN(S)

52. How will a furlough affect my KBOR Retirement Plan contributions?

Retirement contributions are tied to salary received. The percentage associated with the retirement contributions will not change. However, when the bi-weekly salary amount changes the dollar amount contributed to the retirement account will also change.

 

53. Will being furloughed affect my vesting in the KBOR Retirement Plan(s)?

A furlough will not affect vesting as participants in the KBOR Retirement Plan(s) are immediately 100% vested upon starting employment. 

 

54. Can I access my KBOR retirement funds while furloughed?

A furlough is not a distributable event to access KBOR retirement funds. You may be able to take age-based withdrawals from your optional savings plans. There may also be loan or hardship withdrawal options. Speak to your investment provider for more information.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act loosens restrictions on accessing retirement funds for employees impacted by COVID-19 and provides options to consider as you navigate financial decisions in the coming months. Kansas Board of Regents Retirement Plan Committee has made changes to the Mandatory and/or Voluntary 403(b) Retirement Plans as a result of this act. Please see further information on the Kansas Board of Regents website.

  

KPERS RETIREMENT PLAN

55. How will a furlough affect my KPERS Retirement Plan contributions? 

Retirement contributions are tied to salary received. The percentage associated with the retirement contributions will not change. However, when the bi-weekly salary amount changes the dollar amount contributed to the retirement account will also change.

 

56. Will a furlough count towards my KPERS years of service?

Yes, during a furlough you will continue to be awarded service credit for KPERS.

 

57. Can I access my KPERS funds while furloughed?

No, you may not withdraw contributions from your KPERS account during a furlough.

   

MISCELLANEOUS

58. I am close to retirement and within the three year window for determining Social Security benefits. What is the impact of furlough or voluntary pay reduction on these benefits? Will there be a reduction in my benefits as a result?

Social Security benefits are calculated on the highest 35 years of earnings. Please see the Social Security website for more information, https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/learn.html#h1.

RESOURCES

59. If I am furloughed and I am facing a financial hardship, what options do I have?

The university will provide an official notice to those that are impacted by the administrative furlough. Community resources may be available to assist individuals with a financial hardship.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available 24/7 at 1-888-275-1205 (option 1) to provide immediate care, concern, and assistance. TDD/TT 800-697-0353.

Employees also have access to the GuidanceResources® Online. This resource gives you access to timely, expert information on thousands of topics, including, but not limited to wellness, financial planners as well as self-assessments and more.

 

60. Can I utilize Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?

Yes, employees have access to the EAP counselors who are available 24/7 at 1-888-275-1205 (option 1) to provide immediate care, concern, and assistance.  TDD/TT 800-697-0353.

Employees also have access to the GuidanceResources® Online. This resource gives you access to timely, expert information on thousands of topics, including, but not limited to wellness, financial planners as well as self-assessments and more at http://guidanceresources.com.

 

61. Who can I contact if I have questions?

Questions not addressed above may be sent to hr@ksu.edu. Benefit related questions can be sent to benefits@ksu.edu.

 

FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT (FLSA) RELATED QUESTIONS

62. I am a faculty member (exempt employee) and I need to take 1-2 days of furlough during the week. What do I need to do to record my time?

Exempt employees utilizing administrative furlough days will need to download and complete this timekeeping document. The document comes with instructions for use and additional information and training is available on the Human Capital Services website, here. The timekeeping document will need to be signed by the employee completing it as well as their direct supervisor. Completed documents should be submitted to your department/unit's timekeeper.

 

63. How do I find out who my department/unit's timekeeper is?

Reach out to your supervisor or HCS Liaison to find out who your department/unit's timekeeper is.

 

64. If I am a non-exempt employee taking furlough days, how do I record my time?

As a non-exempt employee using administrative furlough days, there will be no change in way you record time. To use administrative furlough, you will choose the FRN earnings code or leave code related to Administrative Furlough.

 

65. If I am an exempt employee and required to take furlough days, why do I have to record my time?

Taking administrative furlough essentially requires you to be non-exempt for affected pay periods. This means tracking time is necessary to ensure accurate compensation during pay periods with furlough taken. With that in mind, all employees using furlough days are required to record their time during weeks in which administrative furlough is used.

 

66. Why do I have to take administrative furlough in full days?

The university has chosen to require that administrative furlough be taken in full day increments. This decision was made in an effort to simplify and standardize time keeping

 

67. Can I postpone taking some or all of my administrative furlough allotment until FY22?

No, the entirety of your administrative furlough allotment must be taken during the administrative furlough period. Your department/unit may have a specific time period you will be required to utilize furlough in, please contact your supervisor for specific guidance.

 

68. I am a part-time exempt (salaried) employee, do I record my leave time in partial or full day increments?

Utilize the Timekeeping Document to record your hours for each day administrative furlough is used. Furlough time is recorded in full-day increments, which is typically 8 hours per day. If your work day is not typically 8 hours per day, then record the number of hours in your normal scheduled work day.