Guidelines for Furlough of Professional & Scientific (P&S) Non-Organized Employees for Reasons Other Than Cause

Procedure: To achieve consistency in the procedures to furlough P&S non-organized employees, refer to "The Relationship of Professional and Scientific Members to The University of Iowa" in the Operations Manual, Part III, Chapter 3 and the following guide:

Decisions regarding staffing levels focus on three primary principles:

  1. Selections of position elimination are based on the functionality of the positions. These decisions should be supportable in the event of a claim of improper intent or treatment.
  2. For the University as a whole, staff in protected classes should not be affected disproportionately.
  3. Communication with affected and remaining staff is respectful and humane.

Once the decisions have been made, the supervisor prepares to communicate them to the employee(s) affected and remaining staff through open and caring communication. Confidentiality is important throughout the process. The employee(s) should not hear rumors of the decision prior to the supervisor communication.

A Reduction in Force (RIF) request must be initiated in workflow and approved by University HR prior to notifying the employee.  Furlough notification letters attached to the RIF must be issued within 6 months of the RIF approval date.  Letters not issued within 6 months will be canceled and a new RIF and justification will need to be submitted.

Issues to Consider Prior to Informing the Employee of Furlough

  • the effective date of furlough, given the length of career status and corresponding required notice period;
  • the work assigned to be completed before the furlough date;
  • the place of work during this assignment;
  • the equipment needed to complete the assignment;
  • the supervisor of the work assignment;
  • unemployment benefits;
  • the possibility of access to outplacement services and/or other job seeking resources (long-distance calls, travel to national meetings, resume support, etc.);
  • anticipate ways to manage the announcement of the furlough: to whom, by whom, and text of announcement;
  • anticipate ways to manage employment references: who will be designated to receive the references and what will be released under what conditions;
  • any concerns for personal safety;
  • any concerns for security of data or property.

Department/Immediate Supervisor Informs the Employee of the Furlough

  • Find a private room and allocate adequate one-on-one-time (30-60 minutes).
  • Be considerate of timing as it relates to staff working off-shifts.
  • Have written letters and frequently asked questions that are appropriate for the employee completed and reviewed prior to the meeting. Sample letters are listed in the links to the right.
  • Practice the conversation; be prepared to provide a rationale for the decision.
  • Emphasize that the decision is related to factors other than performance.
  • Consider the impact of this decision on the employee's personal and professional life. Practice empathic listening.
  • Provide a packet of resources for the employee, including job opportunities, resume and interviewing information, free and confidential one-on-one counseling through the UI Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and general information that could support the transition.
  • Be prepared for a variety of responses: anger, guilt, or denial. The UI EAP can be of assistance to supervisors.
  • Encourage questions or concerns. Offer an additional follow-up session once the employee has had the opportunity to review the information you have shared.
  • Set up an EAP appointment at 335-2085 if the employee desires, prior to them leaving the office.
  • Set up a time to communicate with the rest of the staff as soon as feasible once the employee(s) has been notified.

Notify other employees in the unit of resources that are also available to them. Make efforts to support and rebuild the morale of the work unit. Human Resources/Employee Assistance Program can offer additional support for the transition.

Department Considers the Following Issues Together With the Employee

  • Announcement of the furlough: to whom, by whom and the text of the announcement;
  • Employment references: who the references will be; written reference may be viewed by the employee prior to being finalized; who will handle telephone requests for references – telephone references will be consistent with the written letter of reference;
  • Schedule flexibility to allow a search for other employment;
  • Employee departure either upon obtaining other employment or at end of notice period.

Similar considerations are recommended upon elimination of positions of probationary, term, or temporary employees for reasons other than cause. However, consultation with the Director of Compensation and Classification is available, but not required.