President’s Job Protection Program

December 11, 2020
Human Resources
December 11, 2020

The UC Office of the President concluded a 30-day consultation period in late November on a proposed 2020-21 “curtailment” program that was proposed in October, as one option among many available to address economic challenges created by the pandemic. The final program was titled the Job Protection Program. Each campus was asked to evaluate the implementation of this program to meet its needs and financial challenges. Chancellor Wilcox has asked that we engage in campus-wide consultation about this program, both to answer specific questions about the program and gathering campus input on it. The Chancellor will make a final decision on what action, if any, UCR will take regarding this specific program in early January 2021. It should be noted that at this time it appears there are at least six (6) UC campuses that have already decided not to implement this program, as they will use their existing budget reduction/savings plans to address the overall objective.  

For FY21 UC Riverside has a $42 million base budget shortfall in its “core” budget (e.g., funded by state and student tuition) and non-core campus revenues are projected to be down by as much as $90 million, which for those programs would represent as much as a 70% reduction compared with their normal operations. The UC Job Protection Program defined budget savings targets for each UC campus, and the target number for UCR is $2.9 million dollars. These savings would be one-time in nature. Listed below is some background information that we believe will be helpful in gathering campus input about the implementation of such a program at UCR.

1.    The UC President’s proposal has evolved due to the consultation process and system wide feedback. The original proposal was for a “2020-21 curtailment program proposal” and this suggested a minimum 5-day curtailment period that would use a different combination of paid and unpaid time off (based on salary tiers). After receiving feedback, the UC President’s final proposal was released on November 23, 2020, focused on unpaid time off based on salary tiers and was retitled as the Job Protection Program.  Specifics of that proposal are available on the link below.

UC Job Protection Program: https://humanresources.ucr.edu/hr-announcement-news/2020/11/23/ucs-commitment-preserving-jobs-during-pandemic

2.    The Winter Holiday Closure for December 21, 2020-January 3, 2021, which does not impact faculty that do not accrue vacation, and is not related with the President's proposal in any way. 

3.    The Job Protection Program would, in effect, implement some level of temporary salary reduction during the 2020-2021 fiscal year, based on an approved salary tier (e.g. higher compensated employees would have larger salary impacts). The intent is that these savings would be part of the financial plan to address budget reductions at each campus. 

4.    Each UC location will be allowed to employ a mix of measures to generate the financial savings needed to address the budget challenges on their campus. Some terms that have been used to describe this program, include “curtailment,” “Leave without Pay,” “furlough”, etc., but more precisely the impact of this program would be a temporary salary reduction without any impact on retirement service credits.

5.    One of the University’s highest priorities is to protect employees’ benefits to the degree possible. The Regents of the University of California approved certain retirement program protections at the November 2020 Regents meeting (https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/nov20/b5.pdf).  As you can see in this link, the key issues were salary reductions would not impact retirement service credit, and any temporary layoff would not constitute a break in service

6.    The Job Protection program proposal is focused on the remainder of FY21 and is projected to conclude on June 30, 2021. The UC Office of the President’s has noted that any future salary related impacts for FY22 and beyond would depend on the budget situation, and in particular the state’s FY22 budget recommendation for the UC system. It is too early to exactly predict the potential financial impacts for FY22 (fiscal year starting July 1, 2021), but there could be additional reductions from the state. We are hopeful that fall 2021 operations are closer to “normal” than this past fall, but that schedule is also not final. We will know the recommended state budget for FY22 from the Governor in early January, 2021.  

7.    UCOP Salary Bands. As an example of salary bands only, listed below is the proposal that UCOP will be using to implement the President’s Job Protection Program (therefore applying to all staff working in the UC office of the President). Note that UCOP has calculated the equivalent of unpaid days off, but the net impact is a salary reduction over the last half of FY21 based on equal amounts per month, and dependent on the noted salary tier. If the Job Protection Program was implemented at UCR we would have to agree upon the appropriate salary tiers for any salary reductions.

Salary Level   Estimated Annualized % Pay Reduction thru 6/30/21 Equivalent Unpaid days  Estimate Per Paycheck Pay Reduction for pay periods 1/1-6/30/21
$59k and below 0 0% 0%
$59k - $89k 1 .38% .77%
$89k – $118k   2 .77%     1.53%
$118k - $176k  3 1.15% 2.30%
$176k - $234k   4 1.53% 3.07%
$234k and above 5 1.92% 3.83%

                   

8.    Each campus, under the President’s program would, as a first priority, use any savings from the program to offset short-term losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and to limit COVID-19 related layoffs, to the extent possible. The target UCR savings for this program, as defined by UCOP, is $2.9M. Campuses will provide a final report on how they met their target goal by 7/20/21, which will be gathered from the total campus budget reduction detail. To the extent this program was implemented at UCR, those savings would accrue to the individual units where the employees with salary reductions were employed, therefore allowing those units to have some one-time funds to help with the implementation of the base budget reductions and hopefully limit any layoffs, to the extent possible. Additionally, this program would hold harmless the lowest paid UCR staff and generate the largest level of savings from the highest paid UCR employees.  

9.    If a campus implemented this program, there likely would be some need to provide exceptions for situations like essential functions and operations, etc. Those details would have to be addressed if the program was implemented.