Voluntary Furlough Program FAQ
What are the dates of the Voluntary Furlough Program?
Monday, May 25, 2020, through Sunday, July 26, 2020.
Who is eligible to participate in the Voluntary Furlough Program?
Staff and AAP employees, including both hourly and exempt employees, are eligible to participate in the Voluntary Furlough Program, as well as 12-month faculty at both the Law Center and Medical Center.
What is the timeline for applying for the voluntary furlough program?What is the timeline for applying for the Voluntary Furlough Program?
- Eligible employees must apply by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 18.
- Applications will be reviewed by HR and Managers.
- Approved applicants will receive an official Notice of Furlough on or before Friday, May 22.
- Furlough period will begin on Monday, May 25.
How do I apply for the Voluntary Furlough Program
Staff and AAP employees can apply for furlough using this form.
12-Month Faculty can apply for furlough using this form.
If I go on furlough, will I be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits?
Yes. If you meet the minimum requirements set by the District of Columbia, you should be eligible for unemployment benefits because you are being placed on temporary furlough.
Where do I apply for unemployment compensation?
Go to https://does.dc.gov/page/ui-benefits-claimants to learn more and to file a claim. You may use your furlough letter as evidence of your employment status if requested by the unemployment office.
What if I live outside of the District of Columbia?
Regardless of where you live, furloughed employees who work at one of the university’s locations in the District of Columbia should file for unemployment in DC.
What unemployment benefits may I receive?
Each state develops its own formula to calculate unemployment insurance benefit amounts, which is based on the claimant’s salary over a defined period of time. As such, we cannot estimate the employment insurance benefit for individual employees.
Furloughed employees who qualify for DC unemployment benefits (up to $444 per week) will be eligible for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program. This program adds $600 per week in unemployment compensation.
Are faculty included in this furlough program?
Yes, 12-month faculty at both the Law Center and Medical Center are eligible to participate.
Are any staff not eligible for the voluntary furlough?
Decisions about an employee’s eligibility for the voluntary furlough program will be made on an individualized basis due to the availability of work. However, employees who are in H1B and E-3 visa statuses cannot take voluntary furloughs.
Can my request to participate in the voluntary furlough program be denied?
Yes. Decisions about an employee’s eligibility for the voluntary furlough program will be made on an individualized basis due to the availability of work
Will my position be protected if I participate in the voluntary furlough?
Participation in a voluntary furlough does not protect your position from further employment actions, in the event they become necessary. This program is being implemented, however, with the goal of putting the University in the best possible financial position as we approach the fall semester.
Can an employee take a furlough and then move right into retirement?
Yes, if you would be retirement-eligible at the end of the Voluntary Furlough Program, you may retire directly from furlough.
Will you collect my laptop, phone, GoCard, etc., while I am on furlough?
No, you are not required to return your equipment or other items. However, you must not perform any work for Georgetown during the furlough period.
The furlough application mentions that the University will stay in contact with me. Can I get status updates on projects?
No, the sole purpose of any calls with a supervisor or coworkers is to stay connected about your return to work during this time. No work can be discussed during these calls. This includes status updates on projects or programs.
Is keeping up with my email considered work?
Yes, under wage and hour laws, reading work emails during this time is considered work. It is expected that you do not do any work at this time, nor engage in any work activities that would benefit the university. Therefore, you should not be reading or responding to your work emails while on furlough.
If I am furloughed, am I still eligible to apply for a GUCares COVID-19 Relief Grant?
Yes, furloughed employees can apply for a GUCares COVID-19 Relief Grant online. It is important to note that grants specifically for GU income replacement cannot be considered.
What if a position is grant funded?
Employees who received salary support through sponsored grants or awards may be eligible for the Voluntary Furlough Program, provided that it will not conflict with the terms of the grant or award and based on the availability of work. If an employee who receives salary support through a sponsored grant or award applies for the Voluntary Furlough Program, this application will be evaluated to ensure that an employee’s participation in the Voluntary Furlough Program does not violate the terms and conditions of the grant or contract, adversely impact the sponsored project, or harm our future efforts to secure or sustain external funding.
Could the University end the furlough early?
If University operations require early recall from voluntary furlough, a minimum of one-week notice will be provided.
What are the repercussions of not participating in the Voluntary Furlough Program?
This initiative is a cost-saving measure and an attempt to minimize the potential need for further employment actions, such as mandatory furloughs, salary reductions, and/or layoffs. However, no supervisor or fellow employee can take any sort of retaliatory action against a person who chooses not to participate in the Voluntary Furlough Program.
Who should I contact if I have questions about participating in the Voluntary Furlough Program?
Please contact your HR Client Services Partner, the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits Service Center at 202-687-2500 or reach out to email@example.com.
If I am furloughed, will I continue to receive university benefits?
Furloughed employees who are on a University-sponsored medical, vision or dental insurance plan will continue to be covered. The University will pay both the employer and employee contributions for these benefits during the furlough period.
Furloughed employees will also continue to receive Tuition Assistance Program benefits if they or a dependent are currently enrolled in an eligible academic program.
What will happen to my MetLife voluntary benefits (MetLaw, Group Accident, Hospital Indemnity, Critical Illness, Spouse/Child/Supplemental Life and Voluntary AD&D) while I’m on an unpaid furlough?
Your current coverage will remain in place.
- If you are in a Staff or AAP position and select Option A (Furlough Status While Using Paid Leave), your current payroll deductions for these benefits will continue while in paid status.
- If you are in a Staff or AAP position and select Option B or have exhausted your paid leave and have moved into unpaid furlough status, or if you are a faculty member, premium collection will be deferred until you return to a paid status.
What will happen to my Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) accounts?
While on furlough, you may continue to use your accounts for reimbursement of eligible expenses
- If you are in a Staff or AAP position and select Option A (Furlough Status While Using Paid Leave), your current payroll deductions will continue while in paid status.
- If you are in a Staff or AAP position and select Option B or have exhausted your paid leave and have moved into unpaid furlough status, or if you are a faculty member, payroll deductions to FSAs and HSA will be suspended and payments collected upon your return to paid status.
Will my years of service with the University be reduced due to the furlough?
No. You will remain in active status as an employee while you participate in the Voluntary Furlough Program. There will be no break in your years of service during this furlough.
How does a furlough impact holiday pay?
If you are furloughed over one of the upcoming holidays (Memorial Day on Monday, May 25, 2020, and Independence Day, observed on Friday, July 3, 2020), you will not receive pay for the holiday.
Who should I contact if I have questions about my employee benefits?
Please contact the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits Service Center at 202-687-2500 or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens if I choose to take accrued PTO before moving into an unpaid status?
You will be paid for your PTO at your regular rate, but as you will be receiving wages from the University in the form of paid leave, it may affect your eligibility for unemployment during that time frame.
Can I use COVID time-off instead of leave from my accrued PTO bank before moving into an unpaid status?
No, you may only use non-COVID-related accrued PTO during your furlough period.
If I contract COVID-19 while furloughed, can I use COVID PTO?
No, you will not be able to use COVID PTO while you are on furlough.
Will I continue to earn PTO while on furlough?
Yes. Hourly and salaried employees in leave-accruing positions will continue to earn paid leave based on years of service and regular schedule, even for weeks while you are on furlough. This accrued paid leave will be available to you upon your return from furlough.
Do employers have to pay out accrued paid leave when an employee is furloughed?
No. Since a furloughed employee is still employed, accrued paid leave would not be paid out. In compliance with the University’s Voluntary Furlough Guidelines, you may opt to use PTO to cover time out of work due to the furlough.
If I choose Option A (Furlough Status While Taking Paid Leave), how do I know how much accrued paid leave I have available and how will I know when it has been exhausted?
The University will review your paid leave balance as of your effective furlough date and use this as the amount you have available. Please note that if you used paid leave prior to the effective furlough date that has not been recorded yet, your balance will be reduced to reflect the accurate amount available.
If I choose Option B, what happens to my paid leave and can I choose to take it while I am on furlough?
You will maintain your accrued paid leave and continue to earn hours while you are in an unpaid furlough status. No changes have been made to current paid leave policies. You will be able to use your paid leave once you return from furlough to a paid status.
Will my paid leave continue to accrue while I am in an unpaid status?
Yes, your time-off balances will continue to accrue as if you were in a paid status, and you will have access to these balances once you return from furlough to a paid status.