UR and medical center furloughs to begin May 10

urlogoPandemic-related furloughs will begin as early as May 10 for employees at the University of Rochester, including the University of Rochester Medical Center. 

In messages sent to the UR and hospital community Wednesday, university leaders said plans are being reviewed this week for final decisions and affected employees will be notified May 8. With more than 31,000 employees, the university is the largest employer in Rochester. 

“We would never ask our workforce to make this sacrifice unless it was absolutely necessary.  Out of respect for your personal planning, we felt it necessary to share this news,” said the notice posted by the medical center’s CEO, Dr. Mark Taubman, and Chief Financial Officer, Adam Anolik. 

In a separate announcement to the River Campus, Eastman School of Music, Memorial Art Gallery and South Campus, UR President Sarah C. Mangelsdorf and other administrators said, “We hope the furlough period will conclude by August 31, but our ability to predict its duration is limited because of the continued uncertain course of the disease and its financial impacts, as well as of the state and county mandates to reopen our economy more fully. As a result, the furlough period may be reduced or extended.”

Administrators in those areas have been instructed to reduce salary costs by 20 percent, the notice said. Furloughs are expected to last about three or four months, but that may change. 

The general notice said that while Rochester has not experienced as serious a surge in COVID-19 infections as some parts of the country, the financial impact remains substantial and may take years to make up.  

The letter read, “…the negative financial effects of the pandemic and the accompanying global economic downturn have created particular challenges for us. We may soon be able to begin a gradual ramp-up of our clinical operations in the medical center, but we estimate that it will take a substantial amount of time before we can return to full clinical activity and an even longer period of time – perhaps measured in years – to recover the income lost in the final quarter of (fiscal year 2020) due to the clinical preparations for, and management of, the COVID-19 crisis.” 

Taubman and Anolik noted that medical procedures that had been put on hold during the early days of the pandemic are now slowly being added back in, which may cause callbacks of some staff sooner than later. 

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