UK announces furlough of 1,700 employees

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) The University of Kentucky announced a furlough of about 1,700 employees.

UK says they’ve contacted the 1,700 employees about a  low operational activity/administrative no-pay status.

The university says this is part of the first phase of a plan to address significant budgetary challenges confronting both the academic campus and UK HealthCare.

Here are the details of the announcement made  in a campus communication from UK President Eli Capilouto:

  • Approximately 1,500 of the full- and part-time employees work at UK HealthCare across the health care enterprise. Low operational activity/administrative no-pay status there will begin April 26.
  • Another 200 employees will be placed on low operational activity/administrative no-pay status from UK’s dental clinics, which have been suspended in response to COVID-19, as well as dining and transportation services. One unit — the Hilary J. Boone Center, a campus dining and events facility — is being closed, resulting in a reduction in force affecting seven people.

Capilouto said additional low operational activity/administrative no-pay status may be necessary in the coming weeks in other units where work has been reduced because of the ongoing measures being taken to protect the community in response to COVID-19.

At UK HealthCare, some employees may be low operational activity/administrative no-pay status for as little as a week; others may, unfortunately, need to be in that status for up to 10 weeks through July 4, said Dr. Mark Newman, UK’s executive vice president for health affairs.

Other details of the plan, include:

  • After April 25, employees impacted may elect to use accrued vacation, holiday or bonus leave.
  • When those are exhausted, they may transition to low administration activity, no-pay status. They will be eligible to apply for unemployment.
  • If an employee is in administrative no-pay status for a full pay period, UK/UKHC will pay both the employer and employee portion of health benefits premiums for up to 90 days or until the employee returns to work. Sick and vacation time will continue to accrue.
  • UK and/or UK HealthCare officials will continue during the low operational activity/administrative no-pay period to look for areas of work that can be performed to bring employees back as soon as possible.

Earlier this week, UK officials announced a more than $70 million shortfall for the upcoming budget year, which begins July 1.

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