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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UR announces pay cuts, furloughs due to pandemic economics

urlogoIn an announcement to the University of Rochester community Wednesday, President Sarah C. Mangelsdorf and other campus leaders announced the university will freeze hiring and wage increases, give senior administrators a pay cut, and commence on a series of short-term job furloughs.

“We expect the next few weeks will allow us to continue to develop a clearer financial picture for the University, but we are confident that adoption of these measures now will help to keep our institution healthy, both in this time of financial crisis and into the future,” the announcement read. It was signed by Mangelsdorf, Provost Robert L. Clark, and Holly G. Crawford, the senior vice president for administration and finance.

The statement said the university has experienced unexpected increases in spending and unexpected declines in revenue due to COVID-19 pandemic. And with in-person educational instruction and normal revenue-generating medical procedures on hold indefinitely, UR cannot predict when its income might return to normal.

“As a university with an academic medical center, the global economic challenges caused by this pandemic have been particularly acute,” the statement said. Decreases in revenue include refunds in room and board when most students were sent home, and cancellation or postponement of non-emergency procedures at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Meanwhile the medical center has had to ramp up hospital capacity to accommodate anticipated COVID-19 patients, and launch more tele-medicine delivery and a network for distance learning.

Particular cost-cutting steps will include:

  • No new hiring or replacement hiring, with few exceptions that must be approved by Mangelsdorf
  • Salary reductions for senior staff of up to 18 percent
  • Application for assistance under the federal CARES act. Related expenses are being tracked in hopes of eventual reimbursement.
  • Stalling all capital projects for 90 days
  • Limit overtime in non-clinical settings.

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