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In response to the financial impact of COVID-19, the University of Arizona will furlough most of their nearly 15,000 employees beginning May 11 until June 30.
The university is expecting millions of revenue to be lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If out-of-state students do not return to campus in the fall, the loss in tuition revenue alone would be major. UA President Robert Robbins said in a press conference last Wednesday that 40 percent of their students come from outside Arizona.
Robbins submitted a proposal to the Arizona Board of Regents that establishes the following measures: Employees earning $44,449 or less annually will be furloughed for 13 days, resulting in a 5 percent pay reduction. Those earning between $44,500 and $75,000 will be furloughed for 26 days, resulting in a 10 percent pay reduction. Those earning between $75,001 and $150,000 will be furloughed for 39 days, resulting in a 15 percent pay reduction.
"I know this situation is incredibly hard, and it makes it even more difficult to focus on our health and well-being during the pandemic," Robins wrote in his letter to the UA staff today.
The furloughs will not be taken all at once, but rather incrementally each pay period.
The university's highest paid employees, who earn more than $150,000 annually, will receive 17 to 20 percent pay cuts instead of being furloughed.
Pay reductions will be prorated for employees who do not work full-time.
"With this plan, employees will retain their employment and health care benefits," UA President Dr. Robert Robbins said in a letter to faculty and staff. "We all will share in this as a team and we all will sacrifice as a team, but in a manner that respects your work, your contributions and your compensation and benefits, to the highest extent possible."
On March 11, the university ended all in-person classes and switched to a fully digital curriculum.
In the letter, Robbins said the university has already put a halt to previously approved building projects to save $7 million, they halted their fiscal year 2020 strategic plan funding to save $22 million, and their recently established pause on hiring and job changes saves another $26 million.
Robbins said he and other senior vice presidents took "immediate pay cuts" in March.
UA leadership anticipate a loss of more than $66 million by the end of this fiscal year, ending on June 30. Their projections estimate a total loss of more than $250 million.
"The task ahead is not easy, and it depends largely on the resolution of our public health crisis," Robbins said in the letter. "Along with our entire leadership team, I am grateful for the tremendous sacrifices you already have made, especially as more will be required of all of us at the University."