AU announces a change to employee furlough plan

Employees making more than $40,000 a year will undergo five-day furlough between November and March

AU announces a change to employee furlough plan
Cherry blossoms in bloom on an empty campus.

American University is implementing a five-day furlough for all full-time employees earning more than $40,000 a year, Sylvia Burwell, AU’s president, announced via email on Monday. 

The University originally announced a week-long furlough plan for Jan. 4 through Jan, 8, 2021. However, according to the email, the University has made the switch to a more flexible plan based on feedback from the AU community. 

According to Burwell’s email, all five of the unpaid days must be taken between Nov. 1, 2020 and March 12, 2021; however, they do not need to be consecutive. The unpaid days will amount to about two percent of an employee’s salary. For those making $40,000, this amounts to about $800.

The University also announced that the suspension of University contributions to employees’ retirement funds will continue through July 31, 2021. This follows a previous announcement of a six-month suspension on University contributions. 

The AU Faculty Senate previously released a statement calling upon the University to continue to include faculty as part of the decision making process.

In an email to The Eagle, AU Faculty Senate Chair John Heywood said that the University held an open forum for all faculty and staff.

“I believe they took our input seriously, and the decisions they reached bear that out. We were not told what the final decisions were until President Burwell's email to the community came out today,” Heywood said.

Burwell's email also announced that University leaders, including deans, former deans who have returned to faculty, former provosts and the former president will reduce their compensation. This follows the announcement in April that Burwell and members of her cabinet would be reducing their salaries. 

The University announced early in September that it is facing an up to $116 million budget loss for the 2021 fiscal year.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

aveitch@theeagleonline.com, nheller@theeagleonline.com

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