A Brief Explanation of ASU Furloughs

This analysis is somewhat related to ASU sports, due to the news that Herb Sendek and Dennis Erickson have to take furlough days (thanks to Dirk Diggler for the link).

Michael Crow first announced the furloughs in an e-mail to the school on January 28th. I am disappointed that I didn't read this closer, as it clearly says "varsity coaches."

The furlough will involve all employees, including the president, vice presidents, deans, faculty, varsity coaches, academic professionals and classified staff. The university will not close down at any time; instead furloughs of individual employees will be staggered over different days and weeks so that ASU can remain operational and complete the academic semester on time. The length of any individual employee’s furlough will be determined by three general job classifications:

1) University administrators (including the president, vice presidents and deans) – 15 days

2) Classified staff – 10 days

3) All other employees – 12 days – except for those who do not work a full week or work less than a 12-month schedule, in which case their furloughs will be prorated for the lengths of their appointment or the number of hours worked weekly.

Depending on the length of an individual’s furlough, the salary loss would be equivalent to 8 to 12 percent of the employee’s remaining FY ’09 salary.

If we go to the official ASU furlough website that has since been established, we get our answers to some questions.

While on furlough, can I perform my duties elsewhere (telecommuting) or be on-call?
No. On a furlough day, no work is permitted unless you have volunteered to reduce your pay as described above.

So essentially, Herb and Dennis cannot be recruiting on off days. It is technically illegal for them to do so, as working without compensation is akin to slavery. They can, however, file for unemployment for time missed:

Am I eligible for unemployment compensation while participating in this furlough program? UPDATED 2.10.09
Arizona State University has been approved to participate in the Shared Work Program, which provides for a partial unemployment compensation.
NOTE: You cannot participate in unemployment compensation if you take the pay reduction option.

Which brings me to this: ASU has given employees two options: furlough or pay cut. So either way, they make the same amount of money, but on the furlough they keep their original salary and work less, or they work all their hours and get paid less. As one of my professors said in class, the furlough is a one-time thing, whereas a pay cut is permanent.

My professors are not allowed to even check their emails during their furlough days, as that constitutes work. They can't even work on their theses or books. Thus, Sendek and Erickson are forced to play on a disadvantaged playing field, but I do imagine they are still doing this:

Am I allowed to travel on ASU business while on a furlough day?
Exempt, salaried
employees may travel on ASU business at any time.

So there you have it, folks. Partial unemployment, and ASU business travel (recruiting). We just might be able to compete in this economy afterall.

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