COVID-19 Update — Message from Chancellor Watson
COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work, study and learn. Across the state and nation, everyone is feeling the impact of this pandemic.
The widespread nature of this situation is requiring us to make decisions that we’d rather not. As I explained in my message to you on Friday, we are making decisions that affect our university through the lenses of care and safety, financial liquidity, student and personnel care, and operational continuity.
It is with special focus on financial liquidity and operational continuity that I share with you today that two types of furloughs will be used to help mitigate the nearly $9 million in expenses and loss of revenue from the COVID-19 pandemic we have already experienced. We believe the furloughs will cover about $5 million of those expenses and losses, and anticipated federal aid may cover the rest. As I said, university leadership believes furloughs are the best option at this time rather than laying off employees. Please understand, as this situation continues, we may need to use layoffs, and additional sacrifices may be asked of us.
From May through July, 12-month employees who are not currently working and other employees who will be identified this week will be placed on furlough for up to three months. Notices of those furloughs will be issued this week. Employees who are impacted by this decision will have meetings with our Human Resources professionals to help them understand what this means to them. There will be ample opportunity for employees to address their questions and concerns.
All other employees will be required to take 13 days of furlough between May 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. We will create as much flexibility as possible in the UW-Whitewater furlough policy to accommodate our employees.
Please remember, that unlike a layoff, a furlough is an unpaid leave from employment that not only continues an employee’s benefits, including health insurance, vacation and sick leave accrual, but it also holds the employee’s position so that at the end of the furlough the expectation is that the employee will return to work. UW System has provided a Frequently Asked Questions document that may address additional questions.
We are a university that prides itself on being student centered in everything we do. Now is an important time for each of us to remember that protecting the student experience is paramount. I know we all agree that serving our students is critical to our mission and that remains our core focus.
To address some of your concerns, we will be hosting a Webex Events meeting at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 22. A Webex Event allows a panel to present and for audience members to submit questions through a chat window. The information can be found below.
Again, thank you for all you do to support UW-Whitewater. I am humbled by the way each of you has responded to this pandemic. We are Warhawk strong!
Dr. Dwight C. Watson
Webex Event Information
Event address for attendees:
285 996 484
US TOLL FREE
Access code: 285 996 484