WVU enacts temporary furlough program in response to COVID-19

West Virginia University announced Friday (May 8) it will implement a temporary furlough, affecting approximately 875 staff employees, as part of cost-saving efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A temporary furlough is defined as a temporary reduction in force with an expectation of returning to work.

To protect the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff, WVU suspended in-person classes and transitioned most employees to alternative work arrangements in mid-March. These restrictions to the University’s on-campus operations have resulted in the loss of several revenue streams at WVU.

“Throughout the past several weeks, the University has implemented several measures to prioritize funding to satisfy our financial obligations while also considering the ongoing needs of our students, faculty and staff,” said Rob Alsop, vice president for Strategic Initiatives. “However, after a careful financial review, we made the difficult decision to move forward with a temporary furlough program.”

The temporary furloughs follow WVU’s recent announcement that President Gordon Gee and other senior administrators will reduce their salaries or make a comparable charitable contribution to the University in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further, the more than $500,000 raised through the WVU Foundation’s #GivingTuesdayNowfundraising event earlier this week will benefit the Gray Student Emergency Fund, which provides emergency financial aid and unrestricted scholarship support to students experiencing a sudden financial hardship. 

The University expects to save approximately $4 million through the temporary furlough program.

All employees identified for temporary furlough were notified on Friday morning (May 8). The temporary furlough will be effective on May 24, and impacted employees will return to work on either June 28 or July 26, depending on operational needs.

Employees on temporary furlough will continue their benefits during the temporary furlough period.

Annual leave, sick leave and CTO balances will be frozen until employees on temporary furlough return to work. Further, the temporary furlough does not affect leave conversion rights for retiree health insurance premiums.

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