Coronavirus Updates

West Virginia University to move forward with furlough program

West Virginia

UPDATE (May 7, 2020 9:40 p.m.):

MORGANTOWN, WV (WBOY) – Officials with West Virginia University recently announced that they will be moving forward with the temporary furlough program due to current financial conditions and operational needs.

Officials detailed that the temporary furlough will be effective Sunday, May 24, and an impacted employee’s return-to-work date will be either Sunday, June 28, or Sunday, July 26, depending on the needs of the university.

Throughout Friday morning, officials stated that they will be holding a series of conference calls with employees who have been identified for a temporary furlough to discuss the next steps in the process.

Supervisors have also been encouraged to ask their staff to monitor email in the morning for a potential invitation to join one of the calls.

WVU officials explained that the Talent and Culture and Shared Services teams will be assisting employees identified for temporary furlough in applying for unemployment compensation and continuing their WVU benefits.

ORIGINAL (April 23, 2020, 9:07 p.m.):

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University had a campus conversation on Thursday to discuss the possibility of furloughing some of its roughly 6,000 employees, due to setbacks caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

WVU’s Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Rob Alsop said the university has seen a drop in its revenue streams this quarter and the fall is full of financial uncertainties, so they felt it was prudent to start having the discussion of furloughing employees.

Alsop explained that officials did not decide on how many employees to put on their “temporary furlough program,” however, they decided that over the next few weeks they will put some staff in the program.

The program will most likely start in late May, and perhaps extend through July, Alsop detailed.

“Taking an action of the like to our employees is something — is a last resort we have taken several measures to pause capital projects,” Alsop stated. “To reduce a lot of our services and supplies and other things that we’re doing.”

He explained that officials are looking at a program designed to minimize the impact on employees.

The recently passed federal ‘CARES Act’ provides some additional relief to the state unemployment benefits and gives recipients $600. Part of the university’s decision regarding who to furlough, Alsop said, will depend on who provides a non-essential service on the campus, but also will receive state and federal benefits if let go.
One major factor for the university’s financial downturn and the necessity of a furlough program has to do with students, Alsop said.

“Unfortunately, the fact is we have a number of students right now — while we hope will be able to pay their bills, we know that some of them are going through financial hardships,” Alsop explained. “We also know that summer enrollment is down, somewhat down, and so if there were a quick economic rebound and students are able to pay more than we thought and summer enrollment rose and that may help to limit some of the losses that we are expecting.”

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