Provost offers update on furlough program

We want to provide you with an update on the mandated furlough program. Although some details remain to be worked out, we believe it is very important to share new information as it becomes available.

On a very positive note, the state has agreed with our request to exempt all student employment titles, such as Student Hourly, Teaching Assistant, Program/Project Assistant, and Research Assistant, from the furlough requirements.

Because of the variables related to the implementation of the furloughs, we will be providing all non-student employees with information by individual correspondence. This information will include when you can start taking furlough time, how payroll reductions will occur, and other relevant information specific to your situation. We plan to send this information to you within the next week. (For a small group of represented classified employees, there may be some delay while issues are being worked out with collective bargaining units.)

The University of Wisconsin has received approval from the state to implement our specific UW furlough plan. The materials for this plan can be found at

As the approved plan indicates, two primary payroll deduction approaches will be used to implement the furloughs:

  1. Reduce an employee’s paycheck by approximately 3 percent each pay period, regardless of whether furlough is used during that pay period, or
  2. Reduce the employee’s paycheck for pay periods during which furlough time is actually taken.

With either approach, every employee must actually take the required furlough time. We will need to use both approaches, depending of job responsibilities and federal employment law.

Employees must take a total of eight annual furlough days. Four of the eight days will be accomplished by closing our campus. The remaining four days will be individualized.

After consulting with our campus governance and labor groups, we have decided on the following days to close the campus for all but essential services (exceptions will be made for critical services such as animal care, police, power plant, and housing staff).


  • November 27, 2009 (Friday) Day after Thanksgiving
  • December 30, 2009 (Wednesday) Day before New Year’s Eve
  • April 2, 2010 (Friday) Last day of Spring Break
  • May 21, 2010 (Friday) Last day the grades are due

2010 -11

  • November 26, 2010 (Friday) Day after Thanksgiving
  • December 30, 2010 (Thursday) Day before New Year’s Eve
  • March 18, 2011 (Friday) Last day of Spring Break
  • May 20, 2011 (Friday) Last day the grades are due

Another positive development is that the recently approved state budget has included provisions that give employees full retirement contributions, despite the furloughs. Along with vacation and sick leave being unharmed, this ensures that employees’ benefits are not adversely affected by the furlough mandate.

It will be very challenging for UW-Madison to implement furloughs. I ask that you make a concerted effort within your university role to ensure that we are successful in satisfying the Governor Doyle’s requirements. Not meeting these requirements could seriously jeopardize other present and future efforts, including our continued support from the governor.

Our campus is a resilient community. Although this furlough mandate is a challenge to implement and creates some economic difficulties for many employees, I am confident we will protect our mission to educate students and conduct research.

As always, you can visit this UW-Madison Web site for the latest information: If you have questions that have not been addressed in the FAQ section of the site, please send them to so that we can collect information to respond and share.

Thank you for working with us on this issue.

Julie Underwood, Interim Provost