University of Texas considering furloughs, permanent layoffs to deal with ‘uncertainty’ during coronavirus pandemic

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas at Austin is entering its next phase of financial mitigation measures to adjust to operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, UT President Greg Fenves and Interim President Designate Jay Hartzell sent a letter to the community explaining that while measures have already been taken, the school is facing declines in expected future revenues — in addition to uncertainty about the coming academic year.

“Taken together, these forces have significantly altered UT’s immediate financial outlook,” write Fenves and Hartzell.

According to the letter, revenue generating units will be directed to develop plans that will “contain costs.”

Revenue generating units, the letter explains, are units that fund their operations in a variety of ways, including through service charges, fees and memberships. The letter explains:

“For these units, the mitigation plans will likely include furloughs or permanent reductions in force for staff members in specific revenue-generating units where revenues have declined.”

The university says leadership in these departments will reach out to staff members should these changes be implemented.

Additionally, the university says emergency leave will no longer be available as an option to employees without work. Staff members without work who had been using emergency leave will be asked to review work options with their units and/or begin using their own paid-leave accruals.

Federal emergency family and medical leave will still be available for other situations, the letter states.

Fenves and Hartzell conclude the letter, saying:

“The University of Texas has been through hard times before, and we’ve always come through them with a strengthened sense of purpose and a dedication to our world-changing mission. We have no doubt that this will be the case with COVID-19, and we thank you for your understanding and commitment.”

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