Please read the FAQs below for more information on furlough and unemployment benefits.
For two week furloughed employees, read the unemployment benefit instructions .
If you feel you are a victim of unemployment fraud, please see this information on steps you can take to protect yourself.
If you are a manager and was unable to attend one of the sessions HR held regarding the FY21 furloughs, you may access an audio recording of the session here.
Employee Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
NOTE: NOTHING IN THE FAQs BELOW IS INTENDED TO CREATE OR BE CONSTRUED AS AN EXPRESS OR IMPLIED CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT AND IS NOT INTENDED TO MODIFY YOUR AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT STATUS.
Why furlough employees?
Everyone’s position at Furman is valuable and contributes to its success and the success of its students. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significantly diminished workloads over the summer and created financial challenges that require the university to implement a number of cost-saving measures, including furloughs.
What is a mandatory furlough?
A furlough is the placement of an employee in a temporary leave-without-pay status for a specified number of days within a specified time frame. A furlough is not a layoff or a reduction in workforce.
Is a furlough considered a break in service?
The employee is in a non-pay, non-duty status for time on furlough, but this will not be considered a break in service.
May an employee volunteer to do his or her job on a non-pay basis during a furlough period?
No. According to federal law, an employee may not volunteer his or her services during the furlough.
Will the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) continue to operate during a furlough?
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) will continue to operate during the furlough, and the furloughed employees may benefit from counseling assistance and other services provided during this time.
How will the furlough program affect my full-time or part-time status?
Furlough days will not affect full-time or part-time employment status.
Will I lose vacation time or sick time due to the furlough?
No. Existing vacation and sick leave balances will not be affected. Employees on the extended summer furlough will also continue to accrue vacation and sick time at the normal accrual rate during the furlough period. For hourly employees, this accrual will be based on a normally scheduled work week. Vacation and sick time accrued while on summer furlough will be added to your accrual balances when you return back to work.
Can I use vacation time, sick time, or other paid time off to receive pay during my furlough?
No. Furloughed employees will not receive vacation, sick, holiday or other time-off pay during the furlough period.
Will I receive holiday pay for any holidays that occur during my furlough?
If I end my employment with the university during or in the year following my furlough, will I still be paid out for accrued vacation time according to university policy?
Yes. The furlough plan does not affect vacation payout on separation from employment.
What is the impact of my required furlough if I am on, or have been approved to take, Family and Medical Leave during the furlough period?
Furlough days will not be counted against 12‑week Family and Medical Leave. However, employees will not be allowed to use any form of paid leave during the furlough, even if such use was previously approved. Employees should talk with the Office of Human Resources for more details.
Are employees who are injured while on furlough covered under workers’ compensation?
No. Workers’ compensation is paid to employees only if they are injured while performing their duties. An employee who is currently receiving workers’ compensation payments will, however, continue to receive workers’ compensation payments during a furlough.
What happens to my benefits while I am furloughed?
All furloughed employees will retain their current medical, dental, vision, basic life, and disability insurance and Furman will continue to pay the employer portion of these benefits. Furman will also make payments to employees to help cover the employee portion of medical insurance and dependent life insurance for those employees who are part of the extended summer furlough that is at least four weeks of furlough time or longer. If an employee is furloughed less than four weeks, they will remain responsible for the employee portion of their benefit premiums.
Coverage of other selected benefits such as dental, vision, basic life, and disability insurance will continue, and all employees will be asked to pay their share of the premiums to ensure continued coverage.
All furloughed employees will retain applicable tuition benefits, and as noted above, vacation and sick time accrual will continue for employees who are furloughed four weeks or longer.
The Office of Human Resources will provide detailed information to furloughed employees regarding benefits, including instructions for paying premiums for which employees are responsible.
Can I reduce my contribution to my retirement plan?
Yes. The plan allows employees to change their contribution at any time throughout the year.
Will Furman continue to contribute to my retirement plan?
No. During the furlough period, employees will remain in active status in the 403(b) retirement plan. However, because no eligible wages will be earned during the furlough period, Furman’s contributions to retirement plan accounts will be suspended. Furman’s contributions will begin again when an employee returns to active status.
What happens with my flexible spending accounts?
Unfortunately, IRS regulations require active employment status in order to file expenses against medical FSA and dependent care FSA. During the furlough period, employees are not “active” and are not allowed to make claims for expenses. However, employees may submit medical claims that arose during the furlough after returning to active employment. You are not able to submit claims for dependent care reimbursement that occur during the time you are not working. Employees should ask the Office of Human Resources about other federal regulations regarding contributions to flexible spending accounts that have loosened for furloughed employees because of the pandemic.
Will I be paid out for my accrued vacation leave while on furlough?
No. Vacation accrual is paid out to employees upon a complete separation of employment. Furloughed employees are on a temporary leave; they have not made a complete separation from the university.
Do I need to make arrangements to return my Furman property/equipment?
It is our hope that employees will be able to return to their positions, so we are not asking employees to return university property at this time.
All employees who are able to work remotely should be doing so on a routine basis until further notice is provided.
The vice president of your division will work with supervisors to determine who will work remotely and who must continue to work on campus and other potential changes to duties or hours.
At this time, employees will continue to work their regularly scheduled hours and will receive their regular pay. Any changes to an employee’s work hours will be communicated by their supervisor.
No, there will be no changes to benefits offered by the university as a result of remote work.
FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT: President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Under the law, group health plans — including self-insured group health plans, like Furman University’s healthcare plans, are required to provide first-dollar coverage for COVID-19 testing and related medical office, urgent care, and emergency room costs, effective immediately. This relieves Furman employees and families of any out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. Questions regarding coverage for COVID-19 tests under Furman University’s health care plans should be directed to CIGNA at 800-244-6224.
Furman University’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has created a webinar that provides many tips on how employees can cope with the impact of the current pandemic.
Furman’s chaplains are also available for counseling, care, and conversation to all faculty and staff as a confidential resource throughout the year. Meetings can be set up by email or phone. During campus closure, the chaplains can meet with faculty and staff by video conferencing or by phone (864.294.2133). To reach any of the chaplains by email:
Vaughn CroweTipton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Taber: email@example.com
Tiffany Cox: firstname.lastname@example.org
Harvest Hope – Because grocery stores are not able to supply food, they are in a very serious situation. They are asking for financial help. The website for donations is: give.harvesthope.org/checkout/5372
Habitat for Humanity – The biggest need is financial help for the families that are already in their homes. Donations may be sent to: Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 1206, Greenville, SC 29602
Triune Mercy Center – They are in desperate need of the following items for the people in the homeless community:
Bottled water – they have a water station in the parking lot, however, they need bottled water for people to have with them throughout the day and evenings
Canned foods – i.e. Vienna sausage, fruit cups, crackers, pudding, protein bars
Personal hygiene items – baby wipes, bars of soap, bath towels
Neighborhood Focus – This is an afterschool program that could use volunteers in the following ways: Reading a book online, organizing a prayer team, leading an art or gratitude activity, writing notes of encouragement, helping others with math support. If interested, please contact: Keith Groce, Executive Director, P.O. Box 9127, Greenville, SC 29604. Phone: (864) 704-7878. Email: email@example.com
Neighborhood Focus is located at 6914 White Horse Road, Greenville, SC
United Way of Greenville County, in partnership with local foundations and corporations, have formed a COVID 19 Community Relief fund. This fund provides emergency relief to individuals and families who are impacted by the pandemic. To inquire about emergency assistance, please call 2-1-1.
Employees must not be pressured to come to work if they are ill or need to stay at home to care for ill dependents. Additionally, managers and supervisors need to ensure that they are not pressuring otherwise healthy employees to not come in for reasons such as the employee’s ethnic or racial background, home address, having cared for a sick family member (without any indication of COVID-19), recent travel to unaffected areas, or other impermissible reasons.
Management’s Remote Worker Manual provides guidance to Furman University’s managers and supervisors who are managing employees working remotely during the mitigation efforts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please contact Human Resources with any additional questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 864.294.2217.