Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated 10:00 am MST, May 27, 2020
FAQs posted/revised within the past week will have a tag.

Table of Contents

Main FAQs

Paid Time Off

Benefits

Non-exempt Employees

Faculty Positions

Grant-funded Positions

Visit the Main Furlough-Based Salary Program webpage

View webpage

Main FAQs

How do I determine my gross annualized pay?

Gross annualized pay includes your regular fiscal or academic base salary and any of the following components of pay: Fiscal Salary Conversion amount, Administrative Stipend, Other Stipends (includes interim and acting assignments), and Provost-Approved Annual Performance Based Component. Supplemental compensation is not considered for purposes of determining your pay reduction or Personal Flex Time.

To determine your gross annualized pay, log into UAccess Employee. Exempt employees can navigate to the Pay and Compensation tile, then select Compensation History in the left menu. Hourly employees can find their hourly rate on their pay stub. Multiply the hourly rate by 2080 (number of hours in a fiscal year).

Who is required to participate in the Furlough-Based Salary Program? 

Almost all University employees will participate. Those not participating include student employees, graduate teaching and research assistants and associates, postdoctoral scholars who serve under the Conditions of Postdoctoral Service (UHAP Chapter 12), anyone on an H-1B visa, and employees whose gross annualized pay is less than $44,500.

In addition, employees who have time funded by sponsored awards will participate in the Furlough Program instead.

When will the Furlough-Based Salary Programs be effective?

The program will start with the pay period beginning on June 29, 2020 (includes July 1) and continue through June 30, 2021.

Are Personal Flex Time days paid?

Yes. Flex days are paid days off.

With the Furlough-Based Salary Program, am I eligible to collect unemployment benefits?

With the new Furlough-Based Salary Program, employees will not be taking unpaid time off and, therefore, are not eligible for unemployment benefits. 

The unemployment insurance program is typically designed for people who have lost their jobs. Recent U.S. Labor Department reports indicate more than 20.5 million people have lost their jobs during this unprecedented global and financial crisis, which has overwhelmed the unemployment insurance system. Requiring University employees to be without pay and/or seek unemployment benefits at this time (which negatively impacts retirement, taxes, and benefit deductions) would run counter to our goals and is a burden on employees we specifically intend to avoid.

As the University has looked to address its financial situation, the goal has always been to prevent job loss in as responsible a way as possible and with minimized negative impact to employees. The decision to develop the Furlough-Based Salary Program was based on feedback from many University employees and shared governance groups. The Furlough-Based Salary Program allows for planning and ensures consistent income throughout the fiscal year.

Is there flexibility in when Personal Flex Time can be taken?

Yes, supervisors can offer flexibility based on operational needs and the needs of employees. For assistance with developing plans, supervisors can contact their Human Resources Organizational Consultant.

Can I appeal my allotment of Personal Flex Time?

There is no appeal process for the Furlough-Based Salary Program. However, the University understands the financial and personal impact this will have on employees. Employees should work with their supervisor to discuss options for timing of Personal Flex Time.

I have urgent work to do. Can I work during my Personal Flex Time?

No. You are not to work or perform job duties during your Personal Flex Time. University employees and supervisors are expected to work together to develop plans to ensure continuity of work and productivity to the extent possible while the Furlough-Based Salary Program is in place, including redistributing or removing certain duties as needed.

How do I request to take my Personal Flex Time?

Requests should be discussed with your supervisor and can be made like other departmental leave requests (e.g., sick and vacation).

How will I record my Personal Flex Time? Revised - May 27

To document the use of Personal Flex Time, enter the number of hours taken on your timesheet in UAccess Employee.

Time Reporting Codes

  • PFP - Personal Flex Time (Positive)
  • FPFP - FML Personal Flex Time (Positive)
  • PFE - Personal Flex Time (Exception)
  • FPFE - FML Personal Flex Time (Exception)

If you are eligible to accrue vacation and/or sick time, you will continue to accrue vacation and/or sick leave at regular accrual rates based on FTE.

How will Personal Flex Time affect my FTE?

Personal Flex Time will not have any effect on your FTE.

How can I support my coworkers for whom the pay reduction is a financial hardship?

Encourage coworkers to apply for the Employee Emergency Fund. Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Employee Emergency Fund through the UA Foundation.

Are there any exemptions for individuals/departments performing essential or regulatory duties.

No, exemptions in these areas are not anticipated.

How will a new employee be affected?

All employees subject to the Furlough-Based Salary Program and who have an employment start date before the pay period beginning June 29, 2020, will receive the full allotment of Personal Flex Time. New employees who begin work after June 29, 2020, will have their time prorated according the day their employment begins. All employees subject to the program will be required to participate regardless of whether or not the language is listed in their offer letter.

What if an employee has more than one UA job?

If you are paid from more than one department, the Personal Flex Time and pay reduction should be split according to the salary provided by each department. This split should be discussed and coordinated by both units.

What happens if the financial outlook changes?

The University will be continuously assessing the institution's financial outlook and working to mitigate financial loss. This is an unprecedented time of health and economic crises, and we are not alone in the challenges facing higher education. We are hopeful for a fall semester on campus, but there is still uncertainty.

We encourage everyone to continue to work with your supervisors and leaders as we navigate the challenges. You can also submit ideas to the Financial Sustainability Emergency Response Taskforce.

How often will the program be reviewed?

The program will be reviewed each month to calibrate the results versus plan to achieve our savings targets for the University.

As a service unit, scheduling is challenging if staff take Personal Flex Time on different days. Can a unit close for a day?

Supervisors and department heads are able to schedule Personal Flex Time in the manner that is least disruptive to their units. Closing may be an option to consider. If individual employees have constraints (such as childcare needs), supervisors are encouraged to offer flexibility where feasible.

Will our paychecks reflect the number of Personal Flex Time hours taken per pay period?

We expect paychecks to reflect your Personal Flex Time hours, but this is still under review. There are also efforts to have balances available in UAccess Employee. This may be available soon.

Will the University participate in the Arizona Shared Work Program?

No, the Shared Work Program assists employers planning mass layoffs. At this time, the University is implementing pay reductions and Personal Flex Time in an effort to avoid layoffs to the greatest extent possible.

With the Furlough-Based Salary Program in place for fiscal year 2020/2021, how will salary be reflected for those with contracts?

Contract language for fiscal year 2020/2021 is under review and will be revised to reflect the Furlough-Based Salary Program and corresponding reduction.

Paid Time Off

Will I lose vacation time or sick time due to the pay reduction?

No. Your existing vacation and sick leave accruals are not affected. In addition, you will continue to accrue vacation and sick time at your normal FTE.

Will I be prohibited from using vacation or sick time due to Personal Flex Time?

No. You can continue to request and be approved for vacation or sick time following normal departmental procedures. Your supervisor retains the right to approve or deny requests and balance vacation requests against departmental business needs.

If I leave University employment over the course of the program, will I still be paid out for vacation time?

Yes. You will continue to be paid for vacation hours up to the amount earned in one year on separation from employment.

Will I be able to carry over additional vacation into the 2021 calendar year?

We are seeking approval through ABOR to increase the maximum allowable amount of vacation leave hours that can transfer from one calendar year to the next. This is to ensure that our employees can retain vacation leave during the implementation of this program for use in the future.

May I use Personal Flex Time in place of sick time?

Yes, you may apply Personal Flex Time instead of sick hours in any situation where sick hours would normally apply.

Will Winter Closure be impacted?

The answer to this question will be determined in the fall as the University’s financial position continues to be reviewed. Please note that the ending of University Release time as of May 11, 2020, applies only to employees who are unable to work remotely during this pandemic, not Winter Closure, which uses a different time reporting code.

Benefits

Will my benefits be affected?

Your eligibility for benefits, such as health and dental insurance, will not be affected. There will also not be any impact to the accumulation of paid annual leave, paid sick leave, and retirement service credits.

What is affected:

  • Voluntary life insurance and voluntary short-term disability insurance benefits and premiums are calculated as a percentage of earnings and, therefore, will be reduced slightly.
  • Long-term disability benefits and premiums under the Arizona State Retirement System are calculated as a percentage of earnings and, therefore, will be reduced slightly.
  • Arizona State Retirement System and Optional Retirement Plan contributions are calculated as a percentage of earnings and, therefore, will be reduced. ASRS participants should contact ASRS for help determining how their pension may be impacted.

Will there be early retirement incentives? 

This option is being evaluated. There are some considerations with retirement incentive programs, including upfront costs and liabilities related to ASRS, so a careful cost-benefit analysis is needed before determining whether and how to move forward. 

Can I reduce my contribution to the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS)? 

No. The ASRS has members from all state employers and the rates are actuarially determined to support future retirement benefits. Therefore, the University is not able to negotiate the ASRS rate. However, because your contribution is based on a percentage of your salary, the contribution will go down proportionally with your salary.

Can I reduce my contribution to the Optional Retirement Plan?

No. Arizona Revised Statute §15-1628: Optional Retirement Programs requires that the University and the employee each contribute 7% of earnings. However, because your contribution is based on a percentage of your salary, the contribution will go down proportionally with your salary.

Will paid parental leave continue and how does that interact with my Personal Flex Time?

Yes, you can continue to receive paid parental leave. Paid parental leave days are available to you for up to 12 weeks following the birth or adoption of a child.

Will the pay reduction impact my retirement benefit with ASRS?

Your ASRS contributions are based on a percentage of your salary. Therefore, your ASRS contributions will be reduced by the percentage of your pay reduction.  Average compensation is considered as part of the calculation to determine your pension benefit, and you are encouraged to contact ASRS to discuss your individual situation and how you specifically will be impacted.  You may learn more about the pension benefit calculation on the ASRS website

Deciding when to retire is a very personal choice.  We are in unprecedented times and recognize that some employees may experience a larger impact than others.  It is important to gather all necessary information, and consider speaking with a financial advisor when determining what may work best for you. 

As an Optional Retirement Plan participant, will my retirement benefit be impacted?

ORP contributions are calculated at a fixed 7% of earnings, matched by the University. Therefore, your ORP contributions will be reduced by your pay reduction. At the time you retire, your benefit will be based on the value of your investments in the market. You may wish to schedule a consultation with your TIAA or Fidelity representative to review your account and retirement savings goals.

I have a voluntary supplemental retirement account—403(b) or 457(b). Can I change my contribution amount or access my account to offset my reduced salary? Revised - May 26

Yes. You can suspend or change your contributions to the voluntary supplemental retirement programs at any time. For the 403(b) visit Fidelity’s website. For the 457(b), visit Nationwide’s website

View the 2020–2021 Deadline Calendar (PDF) to see when changes to your 403(b) will be effective.

Under the CARES Act, Congress is also temporarily allowing greater flexibility to take loans or distributions from certain retirement accounts. Find more information here.

If I am on approved Family and Medical Leave during the program period, what is the impact on my Personal Flex Time?  

You are subject to the program if you are on unpaid FML. In consultation with your supervisor, you may designate Personal Flex Time to run concurrently with the FML.

How are Emergency Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave affected by the program?

Answer coming soon

Will there be any changes to the Childcare Choice program?

There have been no changes to the Childcare Choice program at this time. If you are currently in the program, you can continue to submit qualifying costs. Employees will receive as much notice as possible if changes will be made.

Non-exempt Employees

Does the program include non-exempt/hourly employees?

Yes.

How should hourly employees calculate their annual salary and Personal Flex Time?

Take your hourly rate and multiply that by 2,080 hours to convert to gross annualized pay. Look up your gross annualized pay on the program charts (PDF) to determine the amount of pay reduction and Personal Flex Time. If you work part-time, you will receive the same number of days of Personal Flex Time but prorated by your FTE.

Faculty Positions

Will faculty participate in the Furlough and Furlough-Based Salary Programs?

Yes, faculty, including adjunct faculty, are included in the University of Arizona's Furlough and Furlough-Based Salary Programs. Limited-term adjunct faculty and graduate students are not participating in the programs.

Will supplemental compensation or other professional services (OPS) pay be subject to the program?

No, supplemental compensation and OPS will not be impacted.

Will faculty be able to take some of their Personal Flex Time on teaching days?

Faculty are expected to take Personal Flex Time in such a manner that it doesn’t affect their teaching responsibilities. Personal Flex Time may be taken in hourly increments to facilitate scheduling. Faculty will need to work with their department heads to accommodate the needs of the department.

How will Personal Flex Time affect service and research responsibilities?

Faculty will need to work with their department heads to review service, research, and teaching responsibilities. Decisions should be made that are feasible for both the faculty member and the department.

How will Personal Flex Time be administered for faculty who teach five days per week?

Faculty should consider taking Personal Flex Time in hourly increments that can accommodate a teaching schedule. Faculty will need to work with their department heads in scheduling Personal Flex Time to accommodate the needs of the department and teaching responsibilities.

How are faculty on unpaid leave impacted?

Faculty will be subject to the Furlough-Based Salary Program upon return from leave without pay. Faculty will receive a pay reduction at that time and prorated Personal Flex Time based on the amount of time they are active in the system.

Are start-up funds for faculty being viewed like grant funds?

Start-up funds are not grant funds. All employees funded from accounts outside of grants and contracts will participate in the Furlough-Based Salary Program.

Can I work outside of the University doing consulting or other work during this time?

UHAP policy 2.06.06 prevents appointed personnel from accepting positions as faculty members, professional staff, or administrators at another postsecondary institution while simultaneously employed at the University of Arizona. Appointed personnel may accept employment outside of these roles provided that the work does not pose a conflict of interest and a conflict of commitment form is submitted.

Will current tenure dossiers be delayed?

No. The promotion and tenure process is moving forward as scheduled.

If I am on a full-year sabbatical, am I subject to the Furlough or Furlough-Based Salary Programs?

Yes. Employees on a full-year sabbatical are subject to the Furlough Program or Furlough-Based Salary Program. The programs are based on your annualized salary and will be prorated at .60 FTE for a full-year sabbatical.

If I am on a semester sabbatical, am I subject to the Furlough or Furlough-Based Salary Programs?

Yes. Employees on a semester sabbatical are expected to participate in the programs.

How will summer/winter teaching compensation be affected by the Furlough-Based Salary Program?

Summer/winter session instruction will be compensated using the session’s suggested salary schedule, or established college compensation schedules, and will not be subject to the program.

Grant-funded Positions

All employees who have time funded by sponsored awards will be subject to the Furlough Program only. View Furlough Program guidance.