Furlough Program

Last updated 11:00 am MST, Sept. 21, 2020

Only employees who have time funded by sponsored awards will be subject to the Furlough Program*. If you do not charge time to sponsored projects, please visit the Furlough-Based Salary Program page instead.

The required furlough days will be proportionate to the FTE (hours) distributed to sponsored accounts, such that employees who are 100% supported by sponsored awards will have zero furlough days required. Furlough days will also be proportionate to appointment type: academic or fiscal.

The purpose of this framework is to enable proper accounting of grant vs. non-grant requirements in a fair and timely manner while continuing to advance the University in the near and long term.

*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 full-time (1.0 FTE) gross annualized pay (PDF) is less than $44,500 ($21.39/hour for hourly employees).

Announcement New - September 17, 2020

The Furlough and Furlough-Based Salary Programs will end earlier than previously announced. For more information, please view President Robbins' September 17 email.

More details and information will be shared soon.

Program Participation Dates


Aug. 10, 2020 – June 30, 2021:

Fiscal year University Staff and Classified Staff.
Employees with fiscal contracts.
Employees enrolled in the 9/12 Plan Option.  


Aug. 17, 2020 – May 23, 2021:

Employees paid over the 9-month academic year.


The programs will be re-evaluated in October 2020 and March 2021.

Quick Facts

What Is a Furlough?

A furlough is unpaid time away from work. When you take furlough time, you are not working nor performing job duties. This includes not taking calls nor responding to emails.

The University does not expect that you "make up for lost time" when you are in the office. Employees and supervisors are expected to work together to develop plans to ensure continuity of work and productivity to the extent possible while the program is in place, including redistributing or removing certain duties as needed.

Supervisors may work with Human Resources for assistance in developing plans.

What Is Sponsored Funding?

For the purpose of this guidance, sponsored funding is defined as: Federal, state, or other government or private contracts; grants; awards from non-profits; and cooperative agreements. The term “sponsored” does not include funds generated from indirect costs recovery, royalty sharing, gifts, or state general funds.

For University of Arizona purposes, sponsored funding is in the 3XXXXXX-4XXXXXX account range.

Find Community Financial Resources

The University recognizes the challenges that many of you may face as a result of this program. We have gathered some resources and information that may be of assistance during these difficult times.

On this page, find links for unemployment benefits, food and housing assistance, the employee emergency fund, and other information.

View the Resource Page

Determining Your Furlough and Effect on Pay


Employees who work on a fiscal year schedule will see adjustments in their furlough time. These are pro-rated adjustments due to a shorter program period than was announced on May 11, 2020.

Please review the following information related to your full-time (1.0 FTE) gross annualized pay and position to learn the furlough time that you will take and the associated effect on pay. Employees whose full-time (1.0 FTE) gross annualized pay is less than $44,500 are exempt from the program.

UAccess Tile

View the tile on your UAccess Employee Main Homepage. This tile will display your individual:

  • Available furlough

  • Amount of furlough you have taken

For additional information about the tile
View the Tile Guide (PDF)


Your furlough time is determined by full-time (1.0 FTE) gross annualized pay. First, find your gross annualized pay. Second, find your Furlough Time using the chart.

1. Gross annualized pay (PDF)

2. Furlough Chart (PDF)

Furlough Calculator

Use this Excel sheet to calculate your furlough time.

Download Calculator (.XLSX)

Supervisor Guidance

Supervisors and unit leaders, you play an important role in planning and managing the Furlough Program. Review our guidance page for ideas and information to help you in developing plans.

Visit the Supervisor COVID-19 Guidance Webpage

Scheduling and Recording Furlough Time


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.


To document the use of furlough time, enter the number of hours taken on your timesheet in UAccess Employee.

Time Reporting Codes

  • UFP - Furlough time (Positive)
  • UFE - Furlough 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.

Summary of Furlough Program Procedure for Business Officers and Support Staff

Furlough Program Design

Employees who have time funded by externally sponsored awards are subject to a Furlough Program.

The purpose of the Furlough Program is to maintain committed effort that is direct charged to sponsored awards, while subjecting non-sponsored funds to furlough time for institutional budget savings. Furlough time should not be taken against sponsored commitments for the duration of the program. The furlough days are therefore proportionate to the effort distributed to sponsored awards, such that employees who are 100% supported by sponsored awards will have zero furlough days required. Furlough days will also be proportionate to appointment type: academic or fiscal.

Existing Payroll Distribution and Effort Reporting Process

UArizona funds payroll on sponsored awards with planned distributions of effort percentages prior to the commencement of work. These estimates are entered using the Position Distribution Request in UAccess Employee. After the fact, if actual effort performed differs from the planned effort distribution, the payroll expenditure distributions are accordingly adjusted in UAccess Financials using Salary Expense Transfers.

Every six months responsible officials with first-hand knowledge formally certify the actual payroll charges (based upon payroll distribution percentages and Salary Expense Transfers when applicable) match the actual effort worked. This is performed using an after the fact activity report called the Effort Certification Document in UAccess Financials. The default certifier is the principal investigator of the project.

Impact of Furlough Program on Payroll Distribution Process

The UAccess Employee Position Distribution Request applies the planned effort percentages to the biweekly compensation for the individual to derive payroll charges on an account basis. When unpaid furlough hours are entered, the Position Distribution Request will proportionately apply the planned effort to the reduced biweekly compensation for the pay period.

The system does not permit applying furlough time only to institutional fund sources at the time of distribution. This is not a system flaw, as the system is designed to proportionally apply planned effort to all types of exception pay such as vacation and sick, for the purpose of consistently charging effort in normal circumstances.

However, the implication of this calculation is that sponsored accounts are undercharged for effort when furlough time is entered, according to the design of the Furlough Program.

Procedure for After the Fact Correction of Sponsored Effort for Furlough Program

As described earlier, UArizona corrects sponsored award effort after the fact using a Salary Expense Transfer when actual effort differs from planned effort. The same process should be used to account for furlough days taken.

The UAccess Employee Position Distribution Request should reflect planned effort for the individual. Furlough time should not be accounted for the time of distribution planning. Distribution should reflect their normal, planned effort.

After the fact, Business Officials will review posted payroll, and process Salary Expense Transfers to ensure sponsored awards maintain the level of committed effort, while applying furlough time taken to non-sponsored funds.

Furlough Program Impact on the Six-Month Certifications of Effort

The six-month effort reports display effort by calculating the compensation charged to each account divided against the total compensation paid for the six-month period. Because sponsored effort is being maintained under the Furlough Program, the effort reports will show artificially higher percentages for effort on the sponsored accounts due to the calculation methodology. For example, an individual who is normally 50% research and 50% institutionally funded may receive an effort report that shows 55% research and 45% institutionally funded. Training and tools will be developed to explain the differences.

Frequently Asked Questions - Furlough Program Only


Who is exempt from the Furlough Program?

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 full-time (1.0 FTE) gross annualized pay (PDF) is less than $44,500.

How does the University determine if an employee is subject to the Furlough Program?

Employees who do not meet the exemptions described in the response above, and have effort directly charged to an externally funded sponsored award, are subject to the Furlough Program. Refer to the furlough dashboards in Analytics to compare department records to institutional records and to identify any exemptions based on fund sources or other criteria. Furlough dashboards will be available for both business administrators and employees.

Will the furloughs apply to fully sponsored award-supported positions like grad students and postdocs? How does this apply to T32 postdocs and other contract workers (non-employees)?

T32 trainees, postdoctoral fellows, and contract workers are not University of Arizona employees and are excluded from the Furlough Program. Postdoctoral research associates hired under UHAP Chapter 12, undergraduate students, and graduate students are also excluded from the Furlough Program.

How will furlough affect our relationships with sponsors?

We are committed to ensuring that we complete our sponsored research, which is why we have exempted the proportional efforts on sponsored awards. Sponsoring agencies expect institutions to have policies in place regarding the payment of salary and wages for employees that reflect no more than the percentage of time actually devoted to the award. The Arizona Board of Regents, acting under the auspices of the State of Arizona, has the legal authority to impose furloughs on employees. Funding agencies do not have a basis to object to such a policy as long as the policy does not violate the terms and conditions of the award and all funds remain available for applicable award activities.

How can I determine what percentage of my salary is funded by sponsored awards?

Please contact your business office to determine these percentages. As of Aug. 10, 2020, or Aug. 17, 2020, depending on appointment type, UAccess Employee will provide your furlough balance, taking into account any percentage of funding by sponsored awards. Please monitor communications from your college or department business offices for more information on funding scenarios specific to you.

What happens if my position is sponsor funded now, but later moves to non-sponsor funded?

Employees who begin on the Furlough Program will continue participating in the Furlough Program, regardless of future funding changes. They will not move to the Furlough-Based Salary Program. The number of required furlough days will be reassessed at that time.

What happens if my position is non-sponsor funded now, but later becomes sponsor funded?

Employees who begin doing work on sponsor-funded awards later in the year will transition to the Furlough Program. At the point in time the employee transitions, the number of furlough days expected for the remainder of the year will be proportionally calculated based on the reinstated salary that was in effect prior to the program.

Are startup funds for faculty being treated the same as sponsored awards? What about state funds, Technology and Research Initiative Funds (TRIF), gift, or other institutional sources that support the activity of research faculty?

No. These funds are all considered institutional funds and are not treated the same as externally sponsored awards.

Individuals funded 100% by startup funds, state funds, TRIF funds, gift, or other institutional sources are subject to the Furlough-Based Salary Program rather than the Furlough Program. However, if any portion of their salary is directly funded by externally sponsored awards, they would participate in the Furlough Program.

Are there special time reporting considerations for exempt (salaried) employees who take furlough hours?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, exempt (salaried) employees are paid a salary for the work they do regardless of how many hours they work in a workweek. Non-exempt (hourly) employees must be paid for each hour they work, and they must receive overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a workweek.  Under Department of Labor regulations, when an exempt employee takes a furlough day, that employee must be considered as non-exempt for that entire workweek and be paid only for the hours worked.  Therefore, for every week when furlough is taken, the employee and their supervisor must monitor work hours to ensure that the employee does not work more or less than their normal FTE.  For example, an employee at a 1.0 FTE who takes 8 hours of furlough time must work exactly 32 hours for the remainder of the workweek. 

Employees may also want to consider scheduling a full week of furlough.  In this instance, it is not necessary to monitor hours.


Cost Share

Email the Director, Postaward Services in Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services with additional questions about the following FAQs.

Is cost-shared effort subject to furlough under the Furlough Program?

Yes. By default, cost share is subject to furlough because cost-shared effort is paid for with non-sponsored funds. However, certain accounts that fund cost share have received an exception. The source account (i.e., the account actually paying for the effort) for the cost share is the basis for these exceptions. Refer to your business office for more information or review the records in the furlough dashboards in Analytics to determine whether a specific cost share source account is subject to furlough.

What will happen for employees whose salary is above the HHS/NIH cap and for whom the University pays a cost share?

The University is still required to comply with the HHS/NIH cap cost share requirement. Institutional Base Salary remains the same.

What if I cannot meet a mandatory cost-share commitment due to the Furlough Program?

A mandatory cost share means the funding agency is requiring a certain level of matching contributions as a condition of eligibility for an award. If you are meeting the commitment through contributions of time, there may be an impact because cost-shared effort is subject to furlough. Depending on the award terms and conditions, prior sponsor approval may be necessary to reduce the cost share requirement. On occasion, a modified furlough plan may have been permitted, but only when necessary to ensure compliance with contractual obligations and avoid additional costs to the University.

What if I cannot meet voluntary committed cost share due to the Furlough Program?

The most common type of voluntary committed cost share is an employee’s committed level of effort for a sponsored award. In that case, you must meet the minimum level of effort promised in the proposal, but you are not required to meet the dollar threshold. The commitment was to effort, not dollars. If the actual level of effort will be reduced, refer to your award terms and conditions to determine if prior approval is needed. Federal regulations require prior approval be obtained from the federal sponsor if the principal investigator and/or co-investigator effort on a sponsored award is reduced by more than 25% of the effort committed to in the funded proposal. Other sponsors and specific federal awards may have additional requirements for effort reduction.


What happens if my sponsor-funded effort changes during the Furlough Program?

During the Furlough Program, the University will capture who is direct-charging time to sponsored awards. As researchers change the amount of effort directly charged to sponsored awards, the projection of required furlough days will be recalculated, communicated and tracked so that researchers can balance their furlough requirements as the Furlough Program timeline progresses. These projections are updated based on snapshots captured from position distributions submitted to the UAccess Employee system.

Can faculty increase their effort on a sponsored award during the furlough period?

Yes. Faculty can increase effort within their existing FTE on a sponsored award and increase the percentage of salary charged to the sponsored award proportionate to the increased effort worked on the sponsored award. The required furlough time will be progressively reduced depending on the increased percentage of time charged to sponsored awards. Some sponsors may require prior approval for budget changes resultant from increased effort. Email the Director, Postaward Services in Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services with additional questions in Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services with additional questions.

For changes in FTE associated with effort increases, it is necessary to follow HR waiver and hiring procedures.

How will the six-month effort reports be affected by the Furlough Program?

Effort reports will continue to be generated on the existing six-month schedule of July-December, 2020, and January-June, 2021.

The percentages displayed on the effort reports will be slightly affected by the program. The effort reports display effort by calculating the compensation charged to each account divided against the total compensation paid for the six-month period. Because furlough time is to be applied only against non-sponsored accounts, the percentages on the reports will show a slightly higher percentage on sponsored accounts. Tools will be developed to show a comparison of effort on sponsored accounts with furlough removed from the calculation, so that business officers and principal investigators can reconcile with the effects of the program discounted from the calculation.

Supplemental Compensation and Sabbatical Leave

Summer supplemental compensation for many faculty members is paid from sponsored awards. How will this compensation from sponsored awards be impacted, in light of the fiscal responsibilities to funding agencies including project progress?

Individuals who receive summer/winter supplemental compensation on sponsored awards will be able to continue receiving summer/winter supplemental compensation. The hourly rate for supplemental compensation should be based on the original Institutional Base Salary that was in effect prior to the furlough-based salary program.

How is sabbatical leave on sponsored awards impacted by the Furlough Program?

Sponsored awards may be charged committed effort during the time of sabbatical.

Proposal Budgeting

What salary should I use on proposal budgets for sponsored awards during the Furlough Program?

Continue to use the original non-reduced Institutional Base Salary on proposal budgets for employees both in the Furlough Program and the Furlough-Based Salary program.

What rate should I use to budget summer supplemental compensation for sponsored awards during the Furlough Program?

The hourly rate for supplemental compensation should be based on the original non-reduced Institutional Base Salary.

Backstops and Delays in Receipt of Sponsored Awards

My sponsored award is arriving late and has a retroactive start date. How does this affect furlough and issues of retroactive pay adjustments?

There are two approaches:

  1. If the PI/department head/dean permit work to start early, they should submit a backstop to Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services so the sponsored account can be established in advance. Please ensure Conflict of Interest and compliance checks are complete. Then position distribution should be updated to post effort to the backstopped sponsored account, and the furlough dashboards will reflect the future effects of planned effort. Locate the backstop form here.
  2. If the unit is averse to backstopping, the work should not commence until the account is set up in UAccess Financials. At that time, position distributions can be updated to post effort to the sponsored account going forward.
    Work should not start on a sponsored account without either backstop in place or a fully established account setup so that effort can be accordingly updated in position distribution for furlough calculations. If this guidance is followed, retroactive pay issues should not arise.

Guidance for Business Officers on Managing the Furlough Program

If an employee must be changed to the Furlough Program from the Furlough-Based Salary Program due to changes in funding (e.g., changes to from non-sponsored to sponsored award funding), will that employee’s original salary be automatically reinstated?

If an employee changes from the Furlough-Based Salary Program to Furlough Program, it is the unit business office’s responsibility to submit a job change to reinstate the employee’s original salary for the effective the date of the funding change.

Should the business office adjust payroll distributions due to the Furlough Program?

Payroll distributions should be managed in the same manner as prior to the Furlough Program. The payroll distribution should be updated to match the planned effort independent of furlough time. The application of furlough hours against institutional funds should not be managed using position distribution. Instead, Salary Expense Transfers should be processed after the fact to ensure that furlough time is only applied to non-sponsored funds.

When funded by multiple account numbers, the University system will split furlough hours entered on the time sheet according to the position distribution. How does the business office ensure that sponsored awards are not undercharged for effort? 

After the fact, business officers will review posted payroll and process Salary Expense Transfers to ensure the sponsored awards maintain the level of committed effort, while applying furlough time taken to non-sponsored funds. During this review, if they determine actual effort does not match planned effort per the position distribution, the business office and employee or employee supervisor should also work together to process a Salary Expense Transfer to redistribute the expenditures to reflect actual effort worked.

Example: An employee is 50% sponsor funded, and 50% non-sponsor funded. The employee enters eight hours furlough for the pay period, and the system allocates four furlough hours to each source, following the position distribution. To ensure that sponsored awards are not undercharged for effort, a Salary Expense Transfer for the gross pay equivalent to four hours is needed to decrease the salary expenses on the non-sponsored account and increase the salary expenses on the sponsored account in order to correct effort and redistribute expenditures (and consequently the savings).

For Salary Expense Transfers related to the Furlough Program, what documentation should I keep as a best practice?

It is recommended that documentation be retained in the account files to document calculations for the Salary Expense Transfers and communication with the employee and/or their supervisor and/or the principal investigator. These documents are important in the case of an audit.

How often should I process Salary Expense Transfers to correct time for Furlough Program?

If a project is ending, the adjustment must be made prior to closeout period. Otherwise, transfers should adhere to institutional practice. The six-month effort certification documents represent the final opportunity to correct furlough distribution for the six-month period.