Updated on May 18, 2020
Created on April 24, 2020
Lewis & Clark College is developing an Oregon Work Share plan that, together with the new federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), is expected to benefit employees impacted by a summer work reduction. The College is developing this plan in order to conserve resources by reducing work hours and FTEs for a significant number of staff members during the months of May, June, and July. This will put the College in a better position to minimize the impact of the current health crisis in the future.
Oregon Work Share provides partial unemployment benefits to employees whose work hours are reduced, and an additional $600 weekly is provided by the CARES Act to any person receiving state unemployment benefits through July 25, 2020. Taken together, these benefits are expected to more than compensate almost all impacted employees for their reduction in College-paid wages.
UPDATED: The Oregon Employment Department has approved the College’s application to participate in the Oregon Work Share Program.
Supervisors have had, or will have, direct conversations with employees who will be impacted by this plan. This FAQ is meant to provide information about the plan and about how employees can access available benefits.
Oregon Work Share Q&A Zoom Session, May 28, 2020
Who will be impacted?
Each dean and vice president is working on a plan to reduce short-term expenses, including partial summer work reduction for staff positions. All staff positions–represented and unrepresented, hourly and salaried–are being considered in this planning. There will be some variation in impact among units in order to make sure that our critical work, particularly that which directly generates revenue, continues to be done. The president, deans, and vice presidents are being reduced to 0.8 FTE for May, June, and July.
Is everyone being reduced by the same amount of time?
No. To be eligible for the Oregon Work Share program, the reduction in an employee’s work hours must be between 20% and 40%. Impacted employees will be reduced by an amount within that range based on the needs of each particular unit. Your supervisor will tell you the amount of your reduction, if any, and employees who are affected will receive documentation regarding their temporary FTE through Workday.
For how long will these reductions last?
Our current plan is for reductions to be in place in May, June, and July. However, there will be some variation among units based on their particular needs. Some employees may be impacted for only a portion of this three-month period. No decisions have been made beyond July. At this time, we do not know enough about enrollment, revenue, or operations in the fall semester to make those decisions.
What will happen to my work hours during this period?
Work hours of impacted employees will be reduced based on their reduction in FTE. For example, a 1.0 FTE employee who works a standard 37.5-hour workweek and who is temporarily reduced to 0.8 FTE would work a 30-hour workweek. In many such cases, the employee would go from working five standard work days per week to working four work days, but individual employee schedules will depend on the needs of each particular unit. Some units will reduce their operations to four days a week across-the-board. Other units will spread employee hours over the course of the workweek. Again, this is a detail that will be provided by your supervisor.
NEW QUESTION: What happens if reducing hours means that work will not get done that impacts student needs?
You should discuss that with your supervisor. In that case, we should either modify the employee’s work load or modify the employee’s reduction in order to assure that we are meeting student needs.
NEW QUESTION: How should I handle this new “time off” and communicate it to others?
You should not work during this new “time off.” You should not schedule meetings and supervisors are not to require an employee to work during this time. If you are concerned about responsiveness and client service, it is recommended that you use an out-of-office response on your email for the relevant day(s), saying that “My work hours are reduced during the summer, therefore I am not working on ______. I will respond to your email as soon as I am able.” It is not necessary to provide any further explanation.
NEW QUESTION: Are there volunteer opportunities to help vulnerable community members when we’re not working?
Yes, opportunities for community involvement can be found on the Leadership in the Time of COVID-19 webpage. For more information, contact Harold McNaron, Director of Student Leadership and Service at email@example.com.
What amount of unemployment benefits will I receive?
Unemployment benefits are determined and administered by the Oregon Employment Department, so we cannot guarantee precise benefit amounts.
The weekly benefit amount depends on the income of the employee and the number of hours that are reduced. If an employee’s hours are reduced by 20%, they would receive 20% of the unemployment insurance benefits they would have received if they had been laid off. FOR EXAMPLE: If Jim usually works five days a week and earns $500, he would now work four days per week and earn $400 from his employer. If Jim would be eligible for $275 a week in unemployment insurance benefits, he would now receive both the $400 in wages from his employer and $55 in Work Share benefits for the week (20% of his $275 weekly benefit) for a total of $455.
In addition, the CARES Act provides Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) of $600 per week to any employee receiving state unemployment benefits. FPUC will be paid automatically to employees receiving state unemployment insurance benefits and will be paid (as a separate, additional payment) at the same time as your other unemployment benefits. Under the CARES Act, FPUC is available through July. Information regarding the CARES Act and FPUC payments can be found on the Oregon Employment Department’s webpage.
To continue with the example provided above, Jim normally earns $500 per week for five days of work per week, but now earns $400 per week for a reduced four-day workweek. Jim will receive $55 per week in Work Share benefits, plus an additional $600 per week of FPUC. That totals $1,055 per week, which is more than Jim normally earns as a 1.0 FTE employee. This apparent increase in pay is a result of how the federal government’s FPUC benefit is structured and distributed.
What will happen to my pay during this period?
Impacted employees’ pay from Lewis & Clark will be reduced by an amount consistent with the hours/FTE reduction. For example, an employee who normally earns $1,000 per week at 1.0 FTE and who is temporarily reduced to 0.8 FTE during this period will now earn $800 per week from the College. The same employee reduced to 0.6 FTE will earn $600 per week.
NEW QUESTION: Is the FPUC prorated based on the percentage reduction?
No, the $600 FPUC payment is not prorated.
What will happen to my Lewis & Clark benefits?
Benefits–such as medical, dental, retirement and tuition benefits–will continue to be provided to impacted employees on the same terms and conditions.
NEW QUESTION: What happens if you drop below the .75 threshold for tuition benefit?
A reduction in FTE under this program will not impact eligibility for tuition benefits, even if your FTE falls below the otherwise-applicable eligibility threshold of .75 FTE.
How and where do I apply for unemployment?
Under the Work Share program, the employer’s Human Resources department files the required weekly claim information with the Oregon Employment Department and does much of the work for employees to obtain benefits. Employees will need to provide necessary information to Human Resources in a timely manner.
Employees will need to complete, electronically sign, and submit the necessary forms in Workday, which includes the application, tax information, and optional direct deposit form. These forms will be provided to impacted employees through Workday.
Once you submit those documents to Human Resources, they will be submitted as a packet to the Oregon Employment Department.
Because the Work Share Program application process is run through the employer’s Human Resources department, this process should avoid some of the difficulties currently being experienced by other unemployment claimants who need to work directly with the state.
NEW QUESTION: What if I need help filling out the forms?
Contact Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, two online training sessions will be held on Friday, May 1.
NEW QUESTION: What if I don’t have Adobe Acrobat?
NEW QUESTION: What if I can’t upload the documents and need to drop off a hard copy?
You can drop off hard copies of your documents at the Human Resources office between 10:00am - 3:00pm on Friday, May 1 or on Monday, May 4 . Please maintain adequate social distancing while on campus. Note that the HR office has moved to the lower level of McAfee on the CAS campus.
NEW QUESTION: Do I really need to upload a voided check if I want direct deposit?
Yes, that is the direction from the Oregon Employment Department. You need to upload either a scan or a legible picture of a voided check in order to get benefits by direct deposit.
NEW QUESTION: Can an impacted employee decline to seek unemployment benefits?
Yes, if you do not want to seek unemployment benefits, do not complete the Oregon Employment Department forms provided to you and notify Human Resources at email@example.com that you do not wish to have a claim submitted on your behalf. Your work hours and pay will be reduced nonetheless.
UPDATE: I’m paid on an hourly basis. Does this change how or when I report my hours?
Yes, hourly employees on the Work Share Program must submit their time card with work hours and paid leave hours no later than 5:00pm on Friday–on a weekly basis. If you work on Saturdays, all hours need to be entered no later than 5:00pm on Saturday-on a weekly basis. Human Resources will need to submit Work Share claims weekly and must have your information in order to include your claim. Failure to submit your weekly hours in a timely manner could result in losing your unemployment and FPUC payment for that week.
NEW QUESTION: I supervise hourly employees. When do I approve their hours in Workday?
Hourly employees on the Work Share Program must submit their time card with work hours and paid leave hours no later than 5pm Friday–on a weekly basis. Supervisors must approve the hours by 5:00pm Saturday. If the employee works on Saturday, the supervisor approval deadline is 5:00pm Sunday. Employee time entry and supervisor approval must be done on a weekly basis. The Human Resources will need to submit Work Share claims weekly and must have the employee’s information in order to include the claim.
If I am sick for one or two days during the week, is it okay to make up the hours later during that week to maintain unemployment eligibility?
Yes, so long as the revised work schedule is pre-approved by your supervisor. In an attempt to ensure that all employees work their full number of hours in a week, supervisors are encouraged to exercise flexibility in scheduling.
If I have a reduced schedule of 30 hours per week, can I use vacation and/or sick leave to increase my pay to the normal schedule of 37.5 hours during a week?
No. If an employee is participating in the Work Share Program with a reduced schedule, the employee is only able to use vacation and/or sick leave for the reduced work schedule (i.e., 30 hours per week), and doing so will likely result in a loss of eligibility for both Oregon Work Share and FPUC unemployment benefits.
If an employee with a reduced schedule takes a vacation and/or sick day during the work week, will the employee be entitled to unemployment benefits for that week?
No. An employee with a reduced schedule under the Work Share Program must work a minimum of the reduced hours to be eligible for unemployment benefits, including FPUC, for that week. For example, if an employee has a reduced schedule of 30 hours, the employee must work the full 30 hours to be eligible for unemployment benefits.
The Oregon Employment Department has adopted an exception to this rule in cases in which the need to use leave is related to COVID-19.
Will vacation time accrue at a lesser rate during the reduced work period of time?
Employees will continue to accrue vacation at the same fixed rate outlined in college policy or collective bargaining agreements. The rate of accrual will not change, but the number of regular paid hours in the equation does change. Please refer to college policy or your collective bargaining agreement.
REVISED QUESTION AND ANSWER: How will the FTE reduction be implemented in the weeks that include Memorial Day and the 4th of July?
The Work Share program does not impact the College’s paid holidays. Employees should enter holiday pay on these holidays as they normally would, and will be paid for that holiday. Your hours reduction should be taken on non-holidays during that same week. So, here are two examples:
EXAMPLE 1: Susan is generally a 1.0 FTE employee. She has been reduced to 0.8 FTE and now does not work on Mondays. Memorial Day is a Monday. Susan should work with her supervisor to determine a different day to take off that week. In other words, her weekly hours should be reduced by the same amount, but the reduction should be accomplished on different day(s) of that week.
EXAMPLE 2: Betty is generally a 1.0 FTE employee. She has been reduced to 0.8 FTE and now does not work on Fridays. Memorial Day is a Monday. Betty takes Monday off because it is a holiday. Betty also takes Friday off that week because it is her new day off.
Friday, July 3 is also a College holiday, and should be treated the same way.
NEW QUESTION: Do salaried employees need to submit a weekly time card?
No, salaried employees do not need to submit a weekly time card. However, salaried employees do need to report any vacation or sick leave used during a week by 5pm Friday of that week.
Isn’t there a one-week waiting period before receiving unemployment benefits?
Although there is usually a one-week waiting period, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has announced that the state will be waiving this requirement.
I am at or near maximum vacation accrual and was planning to take vacation time this summer. Will the college suspend the “use it or lose it” policy during the reduced work period so employees can continue to accrue vacation during this time?
The College will allow impacted union-represented employees to accrue vacation hours in May, June, and July, even if they are at the accrual cap provided in their collective bargaining agreements. The College will allow unrepresented employees to roll over an additional six days of vacation time, above what is otherwise permitted, into the 2020-21 benefits year. Six days is roughly the amount that represented employees will be allowed to accrue above their cap.
Aren’t there other ways to save money?
Yes, there are other ways to save money, and we’re pursuing them as well. These include spending less on operations and deferring some capital projects.