Notice of Potential Furlough:
The COVID-19 health crisis has had a profound impact on the California economy as well as the operations of colleges and universities throughout the country. Unfortunately, Claremont McKenna College has not been spared these difficulties and faces serious and unforeseen economic challenges because of COVID-19.
The College planned to resume operations on a hybrid basis this fall. Because of the resurgence of COVID-19 in Southern California and State and County directives that prohibited CMC from reopening, however, the College was unable to provide face-to-face, in-person instruction or bring students back in residence to re-populate our dorms this fall semester.
To address the resulting budget shortfall, the College has focused on a wide array of alternative cost-cutting measures, including the reduction of operational budgets, executive salaries, and retirement benefits, and have protected the interests of our staff during this time.
Specifically, and despite these challenges, the College has continued the full pay of employees, including those who have been unable to perform their jobs as a result of the pandemic, for well over 7 months and is committed to doing so for as long as possible.
Although CMC hopes to resume operations this spring, it is still unclear whether current public health conditions and the State and County will allow the College to do so.
As explained in previous conversations and staff meetings, if the College is not able to reopen, a number of partial or full temporary furloughs may be triggered.
The College currently expects to make a final determination on reopening in the spring on December 9. If it is determined by December 9 that CMC cannot reopen in the spring, temporary furloughs would be effectuated on December 20.
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If there are furloughs, when would they begin?
If we determine on December 9, 2020 that we cannot reopen with students on campus for the spring semester 2021, furloughs would begin on December 20, 2020. While we do not know for sure, we expect furloughs to be temporary and last through June 30, 2021, with an anticipated return to work date of July 1, 2021, with an expectation that we will be on campus next fall.
If furloughs occur, which departments would be affected?
The departments most affected by the possible temporary furloughs are those that provide services when students are on campus. The following departments would see furloughs, full-time, part-time or both:
- Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation
- Center for Global Education
- Collins Dining Hall
- Facilities and Campus Services
- International Place
- Kravis Leadership Institute
- Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum
- Office of College Events
Would the furloughs be full or partial?
There are full-time furloughs in which employee hours would be reduced by 100% and part-time furloughs where employees’ hours would be reduced by between 25% and 50%. Those furloughed, either full or part-time, remain employees of the College.
Would furloughed employees be eligible for unemployment benefits?
Furloughed employees may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. CMC does not determine the amount of unemployment benefits that employees are eligible to receive. More information regarding unemployment insurance benefits and other resources available for workers who have been impacted by furloughs is available at labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019.
Would furloughed employees be able to keep medical and dental benefits?
Yes, if there are furloughs, the College would continue to provide furloughed employees medical, dental, vision, and employee assistance plan benefits and cover the employee contribution of such benefits through July 1, 2021. In addition, in order to minimize the impact of the temporary furlough, CMC would pay the employee contribution of elected benefits through June 30, 2021, and employees would not be required to reimburse the college.
Would tuition remission benefits remain in place for full or partial furloughed employees?
Yes, employees are still eligible for tuition remission benefits if they are on a full or part-time furlough. The furlough would not stop the two-year clock for eligibility.
Would furloughed employees still be covered with Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefits?
Yes, should there be temporary furloughs, our EAP would continue to provide up to five free mental health counseling sessions per issue, for employees and their dependents.