NEW 5/15How will I claim furlough time in my timesheet?
Payroll has set up a new earn code for recording the furlough days taken each week. It is called “Furlough Taken”. See Time Sheet Example under Oregon Tech Resources. Each week when you take your furlough day please use this earn code to ensure that your accruals and retirement contributions are calculated correctly. If you do not use the furlough taken earn code and leave that day blank or use leave without pay, your accruals and retirement contribution calculations will be reduced.
The university pays employees for time worked at the end of the month, however any leave taken, overtime, comp earned, shift differential, etc., is adjusted and posts in the following month. The reason this lag occurs is because we process payroll for the month around the third week each month in order to get payroll checks printed and ACH files sent prior to payday. As a consequence, we have not finished the current month timesheets prior to processing the current month, hence the lag in adjustments. Your furlough taken in this month (May) will adjust your pay the following month (June) due to this lag. Payroll process lags will not affect the furlough taken each week when submitted by HR to the Oregon Employment Department.
NEW 5/15I am (or my employee is) currently on full time FMLA/OFLA do I/they need to take a furlough?
An employee on continuous (full-time) protected leave does not need to participate in furloughs until they return from FMLA. To qualify for the Work Share program, the employee must be able to work. Being on protected leave means they are unable to work. Please note that every leave case is unique. Please contact Sarah Henderson in OHR to discuss the interaction of Work Share Furlough and FMLA/OFLA as the impact on individual circumstances may vary greatly.
NEW 5/15I am (or my employee is) on intermittent FMLA/OFLA do I/they need to take a furlough?
It depends. The use of leave time is typically seen as being unable to work. However, if the employee is on intermittent leave and leave is not taken in one work week, the employee could participate in furloughs that week. If the employee uses leave within any given work week, the employee would not be eligible to furlough in that same week. Please note that every leave case is unique. Please contact Sarah Henderson in OHR to discuss the interaction of Work Share Furlough and FMLA/OFLA as the impact on individual circumstances may vary greatly.
What is the Oregon Work Share Program?
The Oregon Work Share program provides Oregon employers with an alternative to layoffs. This program allows employers to leverage unemployment insurance (UI) to subsidize a portion of lost wages for employees whose work time is reduced due to market downturns or other business stressors, including furloughs. Put another way, employers save on labor costs (to help offset financial restraints) by furloughing employees for one to two days per week (equivalent to 20-40% loss of weekly time and income). Employees receive regular pay for the days they work and UI benefits for the days they do not and are able to maintain full benefits, such as healthcare, benefits, and leave accrual rates. Furloughs will be taken in full days (e.g., not two half days).
Until July 25, 2020, furloughed employees can receive a $600 per week subsidy under a new federal law called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
How much can employees earn through the Work Share program?
The weekly benefit amount depends on the income of the employee and the number of hours that are reduced. If an employee’s hours are reduced by 20% (1 day per week), we anticipate they would receive a proportionate amount of unemployment insurance (20% of the weekly amount they are entitled to). Similarly, if an employee’s hours are reduced by 40% (2 days per week), we anticipate they would receive 40% of the weekly unemployment insurance benefits they are entitled to.
You can estimate how much your Oregon Unemployment Insurance benefit will be here.
Additionally, from now until July 25, 2020, furloughed employees will receive a $600 per week subsidy under a new federal law called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Updated 5/19How does the program affect employee benefits and leave?
It doesn’t. To qualify for the Work Share program, employers—like Oregon Tech—must agree to continue providing retirement and health benefits under the same terms and conditions as when furloughed employees worked their usual schedules. Paid leave accruals—i.e., vacation and sick leave--will also continue to accrue under the same terms and conditions as when furloughed employees worked their usual schedules. Paid holidays will continue as scheduled. No furlough days can be scheduled on Oregon Tech’s observed Holidays (e.g., May 25 for Memorial Day and July 3 observing July 4, which falls on a Saturday).
Is there an unpaid waiting week before unemployment insurance kicks in?
Normally, there is a one-week unpaid waiting period. Governor Brown has agreed to waive the waiting week for those participating in the Work Share program, but that has not yet been implemented. Once this has been implemented, employees should expect to receive the waiting week paid to them retroactively. Note: The Oregon Employment Department (OED) has not yet released a time frame for paying out the waiting week).
Do Oregon Tech employees need to complete the weekly claim through the Oregon Employment Department Online Claim system?
No, while enrolled in the Work Share program the Office of Human Resources (OHR) will coordinate with the state on weekly claims based on reports provided by supervisors.
After initial claim and application forms are filed and approved, each week, OHR will submit one certification covering all employees participating in furloughs that week, and identifying hours worked and gross wages for participating employees, compared to their normal workweek.
What are the payment options for receiving an employee’s weekly payment?
The state provides three options that employees can choose from: a mailed paper check, a U.S. Bank Reliacard Visa, or elect for Direct Deposit by completing the Authorization for Electronic Deposit form. You can obtain more information on Benefit Payment Options here (PDF).
When should I expect to get my unemployment and CARES Act supplement payments?
We don't know for sure. The furlough payments--unemployment and the CARES Act supplement--will be handled by the state, not by Oregon Tech. We will provide the information to the state on a weekly basis. Beyond that, we will not have control over or insight into the payment process.
Here is how the Oregon Employment Department answers this question: We anticipate that tens of thousands of applications will be submitted, likely all at once. Each claim requires review for each week of eligibility, and that processing takes time…the process can take as little as one week or up to a month, depending on the complexity of the claim. We will post more information on payment timeframes as it becomes available.
How does the CARES Act increase existing unemployment insurance benefits?
The CARES Act expands existing unemployment benefits in two material ways: (1) providing for an extra $600 weekly payment, in addition to the weekly benefit amount an eligible employee otherwise receives under state law; and (2) increases the maximum number of weeks an individual may receive benefits. These new benefits are funded at the federal level, but will be administered by the states. In Oregon, this is through the Oregon Work Share Program, managed by the Oregon Employment Department (OED).
What do employees have to do, while on the program?
Employees simply complete a two-page initial claim application, which will be provided to employees by the Office of Human Resources (OHR). Employees are not required to look for work or submit weekly claims while on the program.
When reporting time in Web Time Entry through Tech Web, employees will also be required to report “furlough” time on days when they are furloughed. To assure OHR can submit weekly certifications and reports, employees will need to make a special effort to report time at the end of each week.
What can employees do to ensure the Office Human Resources (OHR) received their weekly furlough information?
Any employee put on furlough for one or two days in any week must submit their weekly hours worked to their supervisor at the end of the work week. This is reported through the standard time reporting process using Web Time Entry through Tech Web. There will be an option to report “furlough” time on days when employees are furloughed.
Supervisors will be responsible for submitting to OHR a weekly report of the furlough hours taken by their team. OHR is responsible for then submitting the weekly reports to the state. The state considers a work week to run from Sunday through Saturday. These reports must be timely, accurate, and complete.
Will employees still need to complete their monthly timesheets?
Yes, every employee is still required to complete their monthly timesheets per Oregon Tech’s normal Time Keeping system. For all furlough hours, please report those as “Furlough” hours.
What amount of work can employees perform while on furlough?
None. If an employee is on furlough, they should not be performing any work. Because the benefits are paid by the state and federal government, the furloughs need to be considered non-working days. Supervisors and co-workers should treat a furloughed employee as if they are on a distant vacation completely cut off from phone and internet access.
What amount of work can a supervisor perform while on furlough?
None. If someone in a supervisor role is on furlough, employees should be instructed to direct urgent questions to the supervisor’s supervisor or another designated leader. Non-urgent questions can wait until the supervisor’s return from furlough. Employees should treat a furloughed supervisor as if they are on a distant vacation completely cut off from phone and internet access.
Can FLSA exempt salaried employees choose to make up for their furlough day by working longer hours on other days in the week in which they are furloughed?
No. Employees who are FLSA exempt and paid on a salary basis are treated as non-exempt during each week in which they are furloughed. In short, these employees should work no more than 32 hours (i.e., we presume an 8-hour workday) if furloughed for one day (or 24 hours if furloughed for two days) during that work week.
This means co-workers and supervisors should treat the employees as unavailable outside of the agreed upon working hours.
UPDATED 5/15Can employees use vacation or sick leave in the same week as they are furloughed and still receive unemployment insurance and the CARES Act subsidy?
Right now, the best answer we have from the Oregon Employment Department is still no. Individuals are generally not eligible for unemployment insurance unless they are ready, willing, and able to work—and the employer has no work to give them. The reasoning is that if an employee chooses to take vacation, they are unwilling to work. If the employee is sick, they are unable to work. Please note there is a CARES Act caveat if the illness is COVID-19 related, this may be an exception. Please contact Sarah Henderson in OHR if it appears the absence is COVID-19-related.
We strongly suggest that vacation time, elective doctor’s appointments, etc. all be scheduled within the same week or on furlough days if possible, to minimize the number of weeks an employee is ineligible to furlough. Advance approval for any use of vacation time is still required and supervisors will need to take vacation requests and furlough schedules into account when making decisions.
Here are a couple of scenarios that could come up:
If an employee is sick early in the week, their furlough later in the week should be cancelled. If possible, the employee could make up furlough days in the weeks to follow--with the maximum of 40% furlough (2 days) per work week--to average a 20% furlough rate over time. If the employee is only sick one or two days they could be designated as furlough leave days.
If an employee is furloughed early in the week and gets sick later in the week, we ask that supervisors contact Sarah Henderson
in OHR to discuss how to best address.
UPDATED 5/15Can employees use vacation or sick leave as a way to supplement pay on days they are furloughed?
Right now, the best answer we have from the Oregon Employment Department is still no. Using accrued leave while collecting unemployment or the CARES Act subsidy is not permissible. The purpose of those payments is to make up for lost wages. Additionally, such a practice would defeat the purpose of Oregon Tech’s participation in this program, which is to assist in cost-savings efforts to offset the budgetary shortfall we are currently experiencing.
UPDATED 5/15How will we treat weeks with recognized holidays (e.g., Memorial Day, Fourth of July)?
The Oregon Employment Department views paid holidays as regular worked time, since the institution is closed there is no work available on that day. They do not constitute paid holidays as disqualifying event, so furlough can be scheduled during holiday weeks. However, holidays may make scheduling furloughs a bit more challenging, since the work week will only be four days long. It may be that scheduling additional furlough days (i.e., two instead of one) the week prior and the week after the holiday will assist in maintaining an overall 20% furlough participation rate. But note, to be eligible for the weekly benefits offered through the Work Share program, employees must have furlough of at least 8 hours per week. If there are no furlough days in any given week, there will be no Work Share benefits for that week.
What about part-time employees? How are furloughs handled with them?
To qualify for the Work Share program, the furlough must be between 20% and 40% of what the employee normally works.
Let’s take Juliette, who works at a .75 FTE (or 32 hours per week). If placed on a 20% furlough, this would be a 6-hour furlough in a week (all used in one day). A 40% furlough would be a 12-hour furlough in a week (used between 2 days).
Let’s consider Juan, who works at a .5 FTE (20 hours per week). If placed on a 20% furlough, this would be a 4-hour furlough in a week (all used in one day). A 40% furlough would be an 8-hour furlough in a week (all used in one day).
What about new hires? Are they expected to take furloughs?
To qualify to participate in the Work Share program, the employee must have worked full-time for six months, or part-time for 12 months just before the employer’s Work Share plan was submitted to the state. The Office of Human Resources (OHR) is pulling the list of such employees and will contact their respective supervisors to assure they are exempted from participating until such time that the employee becomes eligible.
Can an employee collect unemployment insurance during a week in which the employee has taken any accrued leaves?
At present, we believe the answer is no. This is one of the questions we are still seeking clarification on and we will update this FAQ, as we know more.
For now, if an employee requests to use vacation, if approved by the supervisor, that employee cannot also be put on furlough in the same work week.
If an employee is sick early in the week before a scheduled furlough day, that furlough day should be cancelled. If possible, the employee could be put on furlough on the following week to make up for the lost furlough day. If an employee does not submit furlough hours of at least 8 hours, they are not eligible for Work Share benefits that week.
If an employee was furloughed early in the week and ended up using unforeseen sick leave later in the week, we would want the supervisor to contact the Office of Human Resources (OHR) to determine how we can appropriately address such a situation. At present, the answer to this scenario is unknown.
Who is participating in the Oregon Work Share Program at Oregon Tech?
At present, all classified and unclassified staff are expected to participate in the Work Share program. To qualify, the employee must have worked full-time for six months, or part-time for 12 months just before the employer’s Work Share plan was submitted. The Office of Human Resources is putting together a list of employees who are ineligible because they have not met this requirement. We will contact the supervisors of such employees.
Most faculty are on 9-month contracts and are not under contract during the summer, so they will not be participating in this program. Temporary and student employees are also ineligible.
Supervisors may determine that some positions are not eligible to participate in the program, due to the critical nature of the work performed by the employee. Such exemptions must be approved by division heads (see following FAQ).
There are some staff who may have their salaries paid for through grants who may be exempted from participation based on grant requirements—OHR is currently working with Sponsored Programs & Grants Administration to make these assessments. OHR will contact supervisors will information, once we have it.
What may exempt an employee from participating in the furloughs through the Oregon Work Share Program?
Exceptions will be very rare. It is expected that classified and unclassified staff will take an average of one (1) furlough day per week (20%) and for employees who may have a lower volume of work at the moment, such employees should be placed on furlough two (2) days per work week (40%).
Exemptions may be necessary if the employee is paid on a federal grant and the terms of the grant would prohibit furloughs. There may be some positions where the employee performs critical functions for the university and a reduced work schedule is not feasible. This may vary from week to week (e.g., this could be influenced by colleagues being sick and unable to perform a portion of the work).
Exemptions will need to be approved by the functional Vice President/Provost over the division. Where any exemptions are approved, such units will be expected to increase the furlough rates for other employees resulting in a 20% furlough average for the unit (e.g., if one employee cannot be furloughed one week, they may have two furloughs the following week; if one employee cannot be furloughed one week, perhaps a co-worker is furloughed two days that week to reach the 20% average).
What is expected of supervisors?
While participating in the Oregon Work Share program, supervisors will have three basic responsibilities:
- Furlough scheduling: Supervisors will be responsible for determining who in their unit can take the expected 20% furlough per week (1 day, not two half days), who can take a 40% furlough (2 full days), and whether any positions need to be exempted due to the critical nature of the work they perform. Any positions that may be exempted must be approved by the division head. These exemptions should be extremely rare.
- Furlough reporting: Supervisors will be required to submit weekly reports to the Office of Human Resources (OHR) at the end of each work week. OHR will provide the form required by the state to track furloughed days. OHR will consolidate the reports across the institution to make weekly reports to the Oregon Employment Department (OED). OHR will rely heavily on supervisors to assure the reports provided are timely, accurate, and complete.
- Time reporting: As is always the case, supervisors are responsible for carefully reviewing employee timesheets prior to approving them. This doesn’t change while Oregon Tech is participating in the Oregon Work Share Program, it just adds another time code: furlough.
Supervisors should also be familiar with the Oregon Work Share program website and the materials shared by OHR, so they can answer basic questions employees may have. Any questions they cannot answer, they should contact OHR to assure both they and their employees have questions and concerns promptly answered.
What do supervisors need to do to ensure the Office Human Resources (OHR) receives their weekly employee information?
Supervisors must submit their unit’s weekly hours worked to OHR at the end of each work week, so long as Oregon Tech is participating in the Work Share program. OHR will provide supervisors a form to track and submit their unit’s data to OHR on a weekly basis. Reports should be submitted to email@example.com. For purposes of the Work Share program, the state defines a work week as starting on Sunday and ending on Saturday.
Where can I find additional information online?