East Central College announced last week that due to state budget withholdings to higher education, it would begin furloughs this month through the end of the next fiscal year.
Director of Communications and Marketing at ECC, Gregg Jones said so far it’s been a smooth transition.
“Everyone here was informed every step of the way and knew what to expect,” Jones said. “Dr. Bauer had a campuswide meeting the week before the furloughs were announced and informed us that it was a possibility.”
Jones said that helped ease some of the burden because employees were in communication with the administrative team and were aware of what was happening.
“Everything has happened quickly because of the CARESAct and ECC wanted to ensure its employees could receive the additional federal funding,” Jones said. “Human Resources has been working with employees to make sure everyone is able to apply for unemployment.”
Jones added he appreciated the college’s effort in making sure the impact on employees’ salaries was fair and minimal.
Jones said he will be taking seven furlough days before the July 24 deadline and after that he has roughly 10 1/2 months to take the remaining furlough days.
“I can do those in different pay periods or months,” Jones said. “I will also still receive state unemployment for those remaining days.”
Jones said the increased unemployment benefits before July 25 due to the CARES ACT, and the freedom to take the rest of the furlough days over a period of time, will help ease the financial burden.
The college is projecting a withholding in state aid of $848,352 for the upcoming fiscal year and the furloughs are to help offset that loss by saving the college $433,587. Each employee at the college will be taking 12 furlough days.
ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer said the college’s application to participate in the Missouri Shared Work Program was approved Thursday, June 11.
The shared work program provides for an employee to be furloughed one to two days per week, working the rest of the week and receiving unemployment benefits.
Through July 25, those benefits include federally funded benefits that are available due to COVID-19.
Bauer said employees at the college began taking furlough days Friday, June 12.
“ECC will remain open Monday through Friday, to serve students with registration, advising, financial aid and testing,” Bauer said. “Staff will be scheduled in a way to both provide services to students, while still achieving the furlough goals.”