Human Resources Guidelines

HRG19 Furlough Guidelines for Full-Time Staff Employees

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Dovizia Long, 814-867-0041,

Policy Steward: 

Vice President for Human Resources



The Pennsylvania State University may implement a temporary furlough program for full-time staff employees when the following conditions are present: decrease in the availability of work, periods of economic constraints, decreases in enrollment, and/or consolidation of programs/schools/campuses, or other emergent situation that has substantial impact on the University’s ability to maintain full operations.

The University may exercise the option of implementing a continuous and/or intermittent furlough, defined as a University-initiated unpaid leave of absence, when an impacted employee is relieved of all job duties, for a period of 6 months or less with the expectation of a call-back to work.


Length of Furlough

A furlough will not exceed a period of more than six (6) continuous months or, for intermittent furloughs, an aggregated total of 6 months. The period of the furlough is identified at the University’s discretion.

For exempt staff, any furlough must be in increments of full work weeks (typically Sunday through Saturday).

For non-exempt staff, any furlough can include a reduction in number of regular hours or days an employee is required to work.

Affected employees will be notified seven (7) calendar days prior to the effective date of the furlough, when possible, and the furlough decision is not subject to grievance procedures as outlined in HR79.  In certain situations, impacted employees will be provided with an anticipated recall date; this recall date is subject to an extension of the furlough period, however, will not exceed the time limits established above.


Selection Criteria

When implementing a furlough, the following criteria should be evaluated:

  • Identification of remaining work
  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities of employees available for remaining work
  • Job responsibilities by job profile (e.g., availability of work in current job profile in the same work unit)
  • Employee performance (e.g., performance review rating, recent performance improvement plan, history of disciplinary action, etc.)


The above criteria should be evaluated in total and should not be applied in any sequential order.  The unit executive, or designee, should consider the need to continue University operations as efficiently as possible.


Pay During Furlough Period:

During a furlough, an employee may choose to apply accrued Vacation, Personal Holiday, Holiday Compensatory Time, Campus Closure Compensatory Time, and/or Service Day Time. Affected employees are not able to move in and out of paid status; if an affected employee opts not to use eligible accrued time, the ability to use accrued time is forfeited until/if/when the employee is recalled from furlough.


Holidays that occur within 30 days from the initial effective date of the furlough will be paid to affected employees.


Benefits during Furlough Period:

Employees will retain all currently enrolled benefits at employee cost for the duration of the furlough period.  The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) will be available to affected employees throughout the duration of the furlough.


Recall Provisions/Callback Rights:

The same criteria that is detailed in the above “Selection Criteria” section should be exercised when recalling employees from furlough. The unit must consider the work which is expected to be available in the resumption of operations to maintain continuity of operations, as well as job responsibilities and performance of impacted employees prior to the furlough.  A furloughed employee will be contacted by their supervisor when a recall date is identified, providing as much notice as foreseeable. 


Employees Covered Under a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA):

Employees covered under a Collective Bargaining Agreement are not subject to the provisions identified in these guidelines. These employees should consult their CBA for further guidance.


Questions Regarding this Information:

Questions should be directed to your HR Strategic Partner or HR Consultant.


Date Approved: 

July 29, 2020

Date Published: 

July 29, 2020

Effective Date: 

July 29, 2020