Northern Michigan University will implement three types of employee furloughs—voluntary, five-day and continuous—to counter a projected $8 million or more budget shortfall related to the COVID-19 crisis. The plan will remain in effect through July 31.
“We have three strategic and critical workforce goals in addressing our budget shortfall,” said NMU President Fritz Erickson in an campus-wide email. “First, we want to keep people employed. Second, we want to keep people being compensated. Third, we want to have employees and their families to be able to maintain their healthcare benefits.”
Members of the AFSCME union, which represents food services staff, maintenance employees and police officers, had previously been asked to volunteer for a furlough during a period between May 15-July 31. This was especially intended for those who work in NMU facilities that are closed and are unable to work from home.
Non-represented employees and other professional staff are being asked to take five furlough days by July 31, which averages to one day per pay period. Faculty are excluded from this option because most are not under contract during that period. Hourly workers making $15 or less are also excluded.
NMU leadership is continuing to identify other opportunities for continuous furloughs in areas where operations are expected to be limited over the next couple of months. A final element of the plan is a continued 10% salary reduction for members of the NMU Executive Council.
Erickson said more details about the reopening plan will be provided in the coming weeks.