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University System of Georgia provides plan for potential staff cuts, furloughs

Faculty and staff at all 26 colleges and universities would take anywhere between 4 and 16 days of unpaid time off, depending on their salary range.

ATLANTA — The Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia (USG) provided authority for a plan on reducing costs by 14 percent for fiscal year 2021, which includes possible staffing reductions and furloughs, they said on Thursday. 

The cuts come from a mandate by Gov. Brian Kemp due to rapid changes in expected state revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

They said any staffing reductions and furloughs would be based on the final budget, which will need 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 July 1.

In a statement released on the USG website, it said:

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.

USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley went on to praise the employees for their resiliency during these trying times. 

“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.”

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