May 7, 2020 - Board of Regents Provides Authority for Potential Reductions Due to COVID-19
The Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia (USG) provided authority Thursday for a plan for possible staffing reductions and furloughs due to rapid changes in expected state revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
USG is working now with its 26 colleges and universities to develop a new spending plan for fiscal year 2021 that includes a 14% reduction from the current fiscal year.
Any action related to staffing reductions and furloughs will be based on the final budget appropriation to be approved in June. The Board’s approval allows institutions and the system office to respond to the state’s request for a plan to reduce spending by 14% starting July 1.
While this may include difficult decisions, the system’s top priority continues to be helping students complete a college education. USG remains grateful to all its employees for making a difference at a critical time for the University System, including keeping institutions and the University System Office (USO) accessible and responsive during this extraordinary time.
The Board’s guidance, to be reflected in each campus plan, requires faculty and staff at all 26 USG colleges and universities as well as the USO to take a minimum number of days of unpaid time off depending on their salary range, with the exception of those with the lowest base salaries. For most employees, this means either 4 furlough days or 8 furlough days, depending on their salary. Those with the highest base salaries will be required to take 16 furlough days, or the equivalent of a 6.2% pay reduction.
In addition, the Chancellor and all Presidents at every USG institution will take the equivalent of a 10% pay reduction which includes 26 furlough days for fiscal year 2021.
USG institutions and the USO may also need to adjust staffing levels to meet operational needs and address the immediate impact of revenue and funding losses. These plans, including the number of impacted employees, will be unique to each institution.
“Employees of the University System of Georgia and our 26 colleges and universities continue to show resilience and dedication despite facing uncertainty and unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic,” USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley said. “Their work has been instrumental in supporting not only USG’s 333,000 students, but thousands of Georgians across the state. I deeply appreciate the contributions of our employees impacted by these measures, and ask all of us to show our respect, compassion and gratitude for their service to our students.”
Institutions have already experienced changes to campus operations caused by COVID-19, including a move to remote instruction and the departure of thousands of students from campuses, which has had an immediate negative impact on auxiliary operations and finances.
USG will continue to monitor the financial impact of COVID-19 and adjust as circumstances require. The system also continues to implement cost-cutting measures. These include a Comprehensive Administrative Review that will reduce administrative costs systemwide by more than $100 million and a critical hire process that was implemented in December 2019.
While remote instruction will continue through summer, on-campus classes are tentatively expected to restart in the fall. A final decision will be based on guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.