Program allows NU employees to voluntarily reduce work hours

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska is implementing a voluntary reduction-in-work program to lower labor costs and address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the program, approximately 400 full-time University of Nebraska at Kearney employees will have the one-time option to voluntarily trade income for time off.

“This program allows employees to voluntarily adopt a more flexible and reduced work schedule to spend more time with family or attend to personal needs or interests while generating savings for the university,” said Jon Watts, vice chancellor for business and finance at UNK.

NU will incentivize these reduced work hours by maintaining for these employees the same insurance benefits and costs available to eligible full-time employees. Salary, vacation and sick leave benefits and retirement contributions will be adjusted to correspond with the reduced work schedule. An employee’s hours may be reduced to no lower than a 0.75 full-time equivalent.

The program is available to most full-time NU employees, with the exception of those covered by a collective bargaining agreement and employees working for the university on a visa or green card application. Employees hired after June 1, 2020, are also ineligible.

An employee’s reduced hours will take effect once the revised work schedule has been approved by the employee, their supervisor and the chief administrative officer of their unit. Human resources also must be informed of the revised schedule.

Once an employee’s work schedule and FTE are reduced, the change is intended to be permanent. However, the employee and their supervisor may revisit the work arrangement pending funding availability.

“This is not a flex-time policy where work hours are shifted,” Watts said. “These reductions will create permanent salary savings that will support a balanced budget for the university.”

UNK employees who would like to participate in the program should contact human resources no later than June 30.