COVID-19 Updates: Budget and Employee StatusesMay 14, 2020
Together, we made it through a challenging semester! Even when it appeared impossible, we stayed focused on our students and our mission. While there is much we missed by not being together in person, there is also much to celebrate as we and our students accomplished great things under very trying circumstances.
Although a very difficult hurdle is behind us, there is still much work to be done and many questions to be answered. The pandemic is still evolving, difficult to predict, and it is having a significant negative impact in many areas.
This update is to let you know where things stand at the moment in terms of the budget situation and the employment statuses of different members of our campus community. Remaining true to our guiding principle of balancing, to the greatest extent possible, the financial needs of each employee with the financial needs of the University, we have made a number of hard decisions in light of the financial challenges facing us. The need to make hard decisions is not over. Now, more than ever, we must continue to explore every possible solution to ensure the best future for our University.
State Budget Update
For the next fiscal year’s budget, beginning on July 1, 2020, the Missouri General Assembly has approved 90 percent of this year’s original core funding (before the $3.3 million withhold that happened at the end of March) for public universities. An additional 10 percent was included through Federal Budget Stabilization Funds, should these funds become available. Currently, these funds do not exist. Even if the Federal Stabilization Funds become available, a substantial reduction in state support is still a very real possibility as the Governor is required by law to sign a balanced budget. With a current 6.1% decrease in state revenues year-over-year, and a continued weakened economy, additional cuts are likely. That is why University leadership remains committed to proactively preparing for potential financial challenges next fiscal year.
Four-Day Work Week
From now through July 24, University offices are operating on a four-day work week. This change is being implemented for the summer to reduce energy costs and consumption.
Offices will be open, at minimum, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. In-person business remains suspended; however, services will continue to be provided through alternate delivery methods. Buildings will remain locked during this time. Staff are required to work 40 hours during each four-day week or make up the difference with vacation time. If they haven’t already done so, supervisors will contact staff to determine work schedules.
Since all summer courses are being offered in alternative delivery formats, and do not require University offices to be open, they will take place as indicated in the summer schedule of courses.
Current Employment Statuses
Due to the disruption of normal University business, budget challenges, and in observance of CDC and White House guidelines for resuming operations, most Truman employees fall into one of the five categories listed below. The health and well-being of all employees is the top consideration during this time. Reiterating, moving forward, Truman will continue to balance, to the greatest extent possible, the financial needs of each employee with the financial needs of the University.
–On-Campus, “Critical” Position Employees
Those employees whose positions were deemed to be “critical” in terms of University operations have remained on campus. Employees who remain on campus or who have been brought back to campus should adhere to the requirements of the four-day work week. Given their work is outdoors in the summer heat, Physical Plant employees are the exception; they will continue their regular five 8-hour day shifts.
–Employees Working Remotely
Employees who are working remotely should continue to do so unless their supervisors request they return to campus. Remote hourly employees are to follow the four-day work week requirements.
–Employees at High Risk
When possible, these employees should continue to work from home. If they cannot work remotely, they should notify Human Resources that they are in a high-risk group either because of their age or by providing a note from their doctor that they have a medical condition that places them at risk. High-risk employees who cannot work remotely may use sick leave during their absence.
–Non-Working Employees Home on Reduced Pay
Employees who were sent home April 20 on three-quarters pay have been notified if they need to return to campus on Monday, May 18. If you are on three-quarters pay and have not received notification, please contact your supervisor.
A furlough is a period of unpaid leave for employees with the expectation they will return to full employment. The University has notified 37 employees they will be furloughed, with an expected return date of July 27. They could be recalled sooner if the need arises.
While the idea of furloughs can raise understandable concerns, with the $600 per week federal enhancement of state unemployment benefits, no furloughed employee should be financially disadvantaged by this action. Furloughed employees will remain on Truman’s insurance plans for medical, dental, vision, life insurance and disability, and the University will continue to pay for its portion of coverage.
As Truman Today moves to a biweekly schedule during the summer, future updates related to the University’s actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic will be provided through email with the subject line COVID-19 Updates and the updates to be added to https://trualert.truman.edu/.
We are very fortunate that the faculty, staff, and students of our community are committed to working together throughout the summer to ensure Truman is positioned in the best way possible to effectively fulfill our mission and realize our vision, no matter the challenge. Such dedication is a hallmark of our institution and powerfully represents one of the ways we are distinct by design.