FAQs for Furloughed Employees
What is an unpaid furlough?
An unpaid furlough is a temporary unpaid leave of absence with the expectation that the employee will be recalled within a specified period of time, and occurs when an employer decides to temporarily reduce hours or for business reasons.
How is an unpaid furlough different than a layoff?
Both are classified as an unpaid, involuntary separation of employment. Layoffs, however, do not provide an expectation to be recalled.
How long is the furlough expected to last?
The projected return date of the furlough is Monday, January 25, 2021, but this date is subject to change. An employee may be recalled earlier or the furlough may be extended beyond this anticipated date.
Who is being furloughed?
All staff positions were reviewed, and focused on those positions which are not able to be substantially performed as a result of the curtailment of campus activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic OR the need for the position has substantially been reduced because of the impact of COVID-19. No faculty positions will be furloughed at this time.
How do I know if I have been furloughed?
If it has been determined that your position is to be placed on unpaid furlough status, you will receive an email to your FDU email account, with a letter following to your home address via U.S. mail. During this temporary furlough, you will not be paid and must not conduct any activity on behalf of the University. This means, for example, that you must not read, send or receive emails or participate in calls or video chats for the purpose of performing your job at FDU.
Will I be eligible to receive unemployment?
This is determined by governmental authorities, and not FDU. At this time, temporarily laid-off employees (also called furloughed employees in this Q&A) who worked in New Jersey may be eligible for unemployment. Although the University does not decide if you receive unemployment benefits, we may be contacted to validate your unemployment date and salary information. We will provide any information requested. Please visit the link for more details (https://myunemployment.nj.gov/).
What happens if I am furloughed but currently scheduled to teach as an adjunct during the furlough period? Am I still expected to continue teaching my course? Am I still eligible to receive unemployment?
Your assignment as a part-time instructor will continue throughout the remainder of the semester. In accordance with the New Jersey Division of Unemployment, you may be eligible to apply for partial state unemployment benefits, using a separate calculation. Please refer to this link below for more information on calculation of partial unemployment benefits (https://myunemployment.nj.gov/).
Can I use my unused sick, personal and/or vacation to delay the furlough period?
No, the furlough period will begin on the listed effective date and cannot be postponed.
Unused sick, vacation and personal time accrued through the start of the furlough date will remain available to use if you return to active employment, in accordance with applicable policies.
Will I continue to earn vacation and sick days during the furlough period?
Sick and personal time will not be accrued during the unpaid furlough period, except for those employees who continue to teach as an adjunct and have not earned their annual FY21 accrual under the University’s sick leave policy.
Vacation time will accrue for staff who have not yet earned their full accrual for FY21, for a maximum of two months during the furlough period.
When will my furlough end?
The unpaid furlough period is expected to last until Monday, January 25, 2021. However, this date is subject to change based upon the COVID-19 pandemic.
Will furloughed employees return?
While our goal is to bring back furloughed employees when the University returns to normal business operations, final decisions will be made at a later date and will depend upon business decisions at that time.
Will I still have medical/dental/RX/vision insurance during the furlough period?
Yes. All employees currently enrolled in the University’s medical/dental (including RX/vision) plans will continue to have the same level of coverage during the unpaid furlough. The University will continue to pay the employer portion of the group premium. You must continue to pay your employee premium contributions during the furlough period. Since your employee contributions will not be deducted from your pay, these payments should be remitted by check or electronically. Information on how to remit payments will be provided in a separate communication to impacted employees.
Furloughed employees who do not remit premiums in a timely manner may be subject to loss of coverage and may receive a COBRA notice, subject to the insurance provider’s requirements.
What happens to the rest of my employee benefits during an unpaid furlough?
Employer Paid Benefits
Group life insurance benefits will end for any employee on furlough as of April 1, 2021. Benefits will resume upon your return to active employment.
Long-term disability benefits will cease effective on the furlough date. Benefits will resume upon your return to active employment.
TIAA-CREF contributions will cease effective on the effective date of furlough, and will resume upon your return to active employment.
Employee Tuition Grants will remain in effect for you and your eligible dependents, in accordance with University policy, during the furlough period.
Tuition Exchange benefits will remain in effect.
Supplemental Life – The Guardian has advised effective April 1, 2021 employees on Furlough will not longer be eligible for the basic life and AD&D policy. Employees with Supplemental Life and AD&D policies are also no longer eligible for coverage. Employees may choose to contact the Guardian to obtain a quote to convert their policies to an individual policy within 31 days of their coverage end date. Employees may contact the Guardian National Conversion Department 800-433-5982. Upon return to full time active status, the basic life and AD&D policy will be reinstated. Employees with Supplemental Life and AD&D may need to reapply for coverage once returned to active status. Should an employee wish to explore supplemental life benefit upon their return, they need to contact the Benefits department.
Prepaid Legal Plan and Long-Term Care require that employees remit premium payments while on furlough. Failure to remit premiums could result in loss of coverage.
FSA and HSA – Employees enrolled in the health/dependent care FSA and/or HSA will not be contributing to their accounts during the furlough period. Upon your return to payroll, we will recoup the healthcare FSA premiums from your paycheck as required by the IRS. This is subject to change if you do not return to active employment. Employees with dependent care FSA and/or HSA may elect to make changes to their election for the remainder of calendar year 2020. Employees are eligible to access year-to-date contributions in accordance with FSA/HSA plan rules.
Any furloughed employee with benefit premium deductions will receive a letter mailed to their home address, with specific information regarding premium payments.
Am I eligible to apply for Temporary Disability/NJ Family Leave Insurance during the furlough period?
Short-Term Disability/Family Leave Insurance will cease on the effective date of the furlough period.
How will employees’ FMLA or NJ FLA eligibility be impacted?
A furloughed employee who was on FMLA or NJ FLA leave prior to the start of the furlough period will have this leave suspended for the period of the furlough. Should you need to continue your leave if you return to active employment, you will need to contact the University’s vendor, FMLA Source, to reactivate your leave. Employees who have a qualifying event while on furlough are not eligible for FMLA or NJ FLA leave during the furlough period.
What happens to my email and systems access during the unpaid furlough?
Your supervisor and other appropriate administrators will be given delegated access to your email and systems for business purposes, including determining if there is immediate work that needs to be addressed during this furlough period. Unless you are a student currently taking classes OR a staff member who is currently teaching part time, your email will be suspended during the furlough period. Whether or not you have access to any University resources or systems, you must refrain from conducting any University business related to your staff position, whatsoever, during the furlough period.
What happens to my office phone extension during this unpaid furlough?
Your supervisor and other appropriate administrators will be given delegated access to your phone extension, and make the determination on where the extension should be forwarded. Your telephone extension will not be able to receive new voicemails during the furlough period.
I have University property (laptops, files, cell phone etc.) in my possession. Do I need to return these items? If so, how do I return them?
During the furlough period, you can hold on to University property such as a computer, files and keys in your possession unless notified otherwise by your supervisor. However, please be advised that your University computer should not be used for work-related purposes and will not be serviced by the University during this furlough period. In addition, University cell phones should not be used to make work-related calls or to read or write work-related emails. If you do not return to active employment, all University property must be returned immediately.
I need personal items from my office. How will I obtain these?
Many University buildings will remain closed and there is no access. Therefore, we cannot provide access to obtain personal items.
May I seek other employment during my furlough period?
Yes. Furloughed employees have the right to seek other employment, and should comply with any requirements related to your collection of unemployment insurance benefits. Employees who obtain alternate employment should notify Stefanie Miller, Director of Employee Benefits (firstname.lastname@example.org), to, among other things, ensure that there is no impact to your medical/dental coverage through the University or to advise us that you have obtained other employment and do not intend to return to work at FDU. Note that securing another paid position may impact your eligibility to qualify for unemployment benefits. Please contact the New Jersey Department of Unemployment for any related questions.
Who do I contact for more information?
Please contact Rose D’Ambrosio, Vice President of Human Resources, for any general questions related to the temporary furlough at email@example.com. Stefanie Miller, Director of Employee Benefits & Training, should receive all questions related to employee benefits, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.