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Human Resources

Administrative Furlough Plans - FY21

Executive Summary


Like all institutions of higher education, Kansas State University is facing significant fiscal challenges for the Fiscal Year 2021 and beyond resulting from the still evolving impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, declining enrollment, and uncertain state funding. In planning for Fiscal Year 2021, the university projected a loss of revenue with increased costs totaling $36.7M. The university responded by deploying a number of budgetary levers to save costs both in the short and longer terms. Emergency furloughs and administrative furloughs are two levers that generate cash savings in the short term.

Administrative furloughs are planned short-term actions designed to address budget reductions necessitated by reasons other than a lapse in appropriations. They differ from emergency furloughs, which occur when there is an immediate or imminent lack of funding to continue operations or any emergency that results in an unanticipated interruption of funding to the University.

Emergency furloughs were deployed during the spring and early summer when the university moved to remote operations, resulting in increased costs and reduced revenue, particularly for programs and services dependent on fees. Emergency furloughs for spring and summer have involved 430 employees and generated an estimated $2.75 million in savings or cost avoidance.

In planning for the fiscal year 2021 budget, deans and vice presidents were asked to submit budget reduction plans for different scenarios in May, identifying what levers they would use to best meet their colleges/major unit needs while meeting budget reduction targets. Some of these plans included administrative furloughs while others relied on other approaches, including terminal contracts, not issuing new term contracts, utilization of cash savings, and other reduction measures.

After reviewing the scenario plans and discussing the various budget levers with the deans and vice presidents, President Myers, in consultation with the Budget Core Team, made several decisions. Cash balances and savings from personnel actions would not be pulled back centrally, but maintained by the deans and vice presidents for use within their units. Consistent with this approach, the university decided not to deploy an across-the-board university administrative furlough plan to pull the savings centrally. Deans and vice presidents were given the flexibility to determine the mix of budgetary levers to use to meet their budget targets, including the use of administrative furloughs.

Guidance for developing administrative furlough plans was detailed in a June 8, memorandum from Jay Stephens, Vice President for Human Resources, and Dr. Chuck Taber, Provost and Executive Vice President. This guidance lays out the process, timeline, and key considerations for designing the administrative furloughs, consistent with policy requirements. This memorandum is attached as Appendix 1. In addition, a template and a spreadsheet were distributed to guide the preparation and documentation of the plans. The template is attached as Appendix 2. Human Resources prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions related to the administrative furloughs and also met with Faculty Senate and USS Senate leaderships to answer their questions and get feedback.

The administrative furlough plans submitted in accordance with the June 8 guidance are summarized and compiled below as the university administrative furlough plan. Following shared governance consultation between July 1 and July 7, a faculty and staff Town Hall with President Myers will be held on July 10, 2020 to provide information about the need for and information about this plan.

Administrative Furlough Plans

Seven administrative furlough plans were submitted as part of the overall FY21 budget reduction and cost savings plans for the Colleges/Administrative Units listed below.

  • College of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension (Ag/KSRE)
  • College of Architecture, Planning and Design (APD)
  • College of Arts and Sciences (A&S)
  • College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS)
  • Division of Communications and Marketing (DCM)
  • Office of International Programs (OIP)
  • Office of the President
Targeted Cost Savings

The total estimated cost savings from these administrative furloughs is $5,893,288.25.

  • $3,000,000 – College of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension
  • $408,881 – College of Architecture, Planning and Design
  • $1,500,000 – College of Arts and Sciences
  • $923,193 – College of Health and Human Sciences
  • $36,640.25 – Division of Communications and Marketing
  • $18,274 – Office of International Programs
  • $6,300 – Office of the President
Impact to Mission and/or Operations

All the plans ensure the continuation of critical teaching, research, engagement, and business services for the coming year. That said, these plans, as with many of the personnel actions required to address the university's budget challenges, come at a cost of reduced productivity and services delivering our land grant mission coupled with a loss of employee morale as employees deal with the real life consequences of furloughs, salary reductions, and other personnel actions. The specific impacts on the colleges and other units are outlined in the plans below.

Number of FTE Impacted and Utilization of Salary Tiers

The administrative furlough plans will impact faculty and staff totaling 1,404.29 FTE as outlined in the salary tier chart below.

The administrative furlough plans were designed using a standard six-tier salary structure. Deans and other unit leaders had the flexibility to determine which tiers to deploy and the number of furlough days designated within each tier or groups of tiers in order to meet their budgetary targets. Details regarding the deployment by furlough days by salary tier can be found in the specific college/unit plans later in this document.

Total # of 
Total # of 
Total # of 
Total # of 
Total # of 
Total # of 
Pres. Office
Total # of 
200,000+ 7000000
Total FTE742.1548.45413.51158.6829.575
Effective Dates and Furlough Deployment

Implementation of these administrative furlough plans will not begin before August 9, 2020 and can extend through the end FY21. Deans and major unit leaders had the flexibility to determine the timing and dates for furloughs within their units based on their needs in a manner that ensured the continuation of critical teaching, research, engagement, and business services and functions. Details on the furlough deployment plans for each college/unit are outlined in the specific plans below.

Employees Exempted from Administrative Furlough

Certain positions, classes, organizational units and/or geographical areas—or any combination thereof—may be designated as exempt in a unit's furlough plan. These exemptions must be clearly documented in the furlough plan. The criteria used to make these determinations may include, but are not limited to: budget needs, business needs, instructional needs, funding sources, or specific classifications listed immediately below.

  • Employees on H1-B and E-3 visa status
  • Temporary employees
  • Graduate students
  • Student employees
  • Employees on sabbatical leave

The specific college/unit plans include details about groups of employees who are exempted from their administrative furlough plans for a variety of reasons. In addition to the criteria listed above, other exemptions in the plans include, but are not limited to, employees who are already part of emergency furloughs, have taken voluntary salary reductions for the fiscal year, are in grant-funded positions, or have received terminal contracts or not been issued new term contracts.

Methods and Time for Notifying Affected Employees

All university employees will be notified of the furlough plans through the President's Town Hall on July 10. The Town Hall is scheduled for 8:00 am via Zoom. Each employee who will be furloughed as part of these plans will receive a notification letter on July 10 explaining how the furlough will apply to their position. Exempt employees who have been notified that they are to be furloughed may elect to take a voluntary salary reduction in place of the furlough days equal to the salary savings that would have been generated by the designated furlough days. This option will be explained in the notification letter.

College/Department Administrative Furlough Plans