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UPDATE: UW-Oshkosh announces latest steps to respond to financial challenges posed by coronavirus

Coronavirus
FRIDAY 4/24/2020 1:41 p.m.

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh has announced the next steps in its plan to address the financial challenges facing posed by the coronavirus.

Under the latest steps, UWO’s vice-chancellors and Chancellor Andrew Leavitt will take a 15 percent salary reduction effective May 2020.

About 180 employees will be notified by Human Resources later today that they will be on continuous furlough effective May 4, with furloughs extending up to 90 working days through Aug. 31.

The remaining staff will be placed on furlough two days each month beginning in May 2020, the maximum per UW System policy and guidelines.

All nine-month employees are exempt from furloughs this fiscal year (ending June 30, 2020). Nine-month employees will be notified later this summer regarding intermittent furloughs during their fiscal year 2021 contract.

“None of this is easy and every day brings new opportunities to find solutions that will counteract the pandemic’s disruptions at UWO,” said Chancellor Andrew Leavitt. “We don’t have precedence for navigating the chaos spurred by coronavirus, but we will continue to evaluate information as we receive it and in a transparent and equitable way determine the best course for the University.”

UW-Green Bay announced it would furlough over 200 employees and indefinitely suspend both of its tennis teams.

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Original Story: UW-Oshkosh to furlough employees as school experiences financial challenges during coronavirus pandemic

MONDAY 4/20/2020 11:09 a.m.

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – Employees at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh are being furloughed as the university experiences “financial challenges” during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a letter from Chancellor Andy Leavitt to the UWO employees, the university is “faced with challenges that require painstaking decisions and sacrifice to keep our institution operating and carrying out its mission.”

“We and every UW System institution face new and serious financial challenges,” Leavitt continues. “As you know, this prompted the Board of Regents Executive Committee to meet last week and review and endorse updated furlough policies and guidelines. Provost Koker and I subsequently briefed and consulted with employee groups’ shared governance leaders.”

Leavitt says UWO will receive $6.2 million in federal support through the CARES Act stimulus funding. He explains that half of that must be directed to financial relief for students.

“We fully support that relief for Titans. However, it prevents us from covering the refunds we made for students’ housing and dining, which represent the lion’s share of UWO’s approximately $7 million in COVID-19-related losses. In short, we face an immediate $4 million gap this fiscal year. It threatens our ability to cover costs as fundamental as payroll.”

Under the UW System, furlough is “a leave of absence from UW System employment either intermittently or for a specified consecutive number of days where the employee remains an employee of the institution.” Furloughed UW System employees will be able to apply for unemployment insurance immediately.

Leavitt says furloughs will begin on May 4 and employees will experience them differently.

“We plan to enact two types of furloughs:

  • All 12-month employees who are not currently working and other employees who will be identified this week will be on continuous furlough May 4 through Aug. 31. Per UW System policy, these furloughs, referred to as consecutive day furloughs, are ‘assigned in full-day increments for a continuous period of time with a defined start and end date.’
  • All remaining 12-month employees will be on intermittent furlough for a number of days to be determined beginning May 4, 2020, through June 2021. ‘Intermittent’ furloughs are ‘assigned in full-day increments that must not exceed one day in any two-week period.'”

According to Leavitt, nine-month employees are exempt from furloughs this fiscal year. They will, however, be notified later in the summer that they will be intermittently furloughed during their Fiscal Year ’21 contract.

“As we move into Fiscal Year 2021 (July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021), we anticipate additional financial challenges due to the COVID-19 interruptions and the uncertainties surrounding the path to recovery,” Leavitt adds. “Right now, we anticipate more furloughs will be necessary into the next academic and calendar years. Types, timeframes and durations will depend on UWO’s operational status.”

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Leavitt went on to offer additional ways staff and faculty can help UWO during this time, including voluntary furloughs, retirement, voluntary reduction in FTE, and the possible reassignment of work.

“As chancellor, I take responsibility for decisions made and those to come. My pledge to you is that they will be made with every intention of minimizing harm as we recognize our responsibility to sustain this University and our community.”

WISCONSIN CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

WFRV COVID-19 Coverage | Confirmed cases in Wisconsin
Tracking coronavirus | Local health experts talk coronavirus
Stimulus check calculator| Local businesses hiring during outbreak

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