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Furloughs at Fermilab

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Latest Furlough Questions & Answers

Answers to questions (posted on January 24, 2008)

Have a question about the furlough?
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General

If there is a continuing resolution in FY09, will there be layoffs?

Fermilab does not plan to continue furloughs beyond FY08. If the FY09 budget does not improve, there will have to be layoffs.

When will Fermilab make a decision about whether layoffs will occur, how many there will be, and who will be laid off?

Fermilab is currently working on a plan for staff reduction if layoffs are necessary. The laboratory does not expect to issue notices of layoffs before early April.

Is there a hiring freeze?

Yes, but there can be exceptions to fill vital positions.

Has there been an official statement from DOE about the effects of the budget cuts?

Yes. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2008/009.html

Is there any budget mechanism in place to keep this kind of funding crunch from happening again?

No. The budget process is not optimal for science projects, but we are unlikely to be able to change the system anytime soon.

As a result of the furlough, some people may find jobs elsewhere. How will we deal with that?

We will fill vital jobs. We will develop a robust, exciting, achievable program of accelerator based science that will lead to future opportunities for people to work at Fermilab.

What happens to a nonexempt employee on assignment at CERN?

The employee takes the same furlough as other Fermilab employees.

Much of my time is charged to an external source. Does that affect my furlough?

No. You will take the same furlough as other employees.

Is furlough notification the same as notification of layoff?

No.

Will we continue to hold conferences at Fermilab?

Yes, but we will use discretion in holding them.

Where can employees get help with financial problems?

For financial counseling or advice, employees can call on the resources of the Employee Assistance Program. Call the EAP 24/7 at 1-800-843-1327 and tell them you're from Fermilab. Or get directly in touch with employee assistance counselor Brian Malinowski at 1-847-625-3532 or bmalinowski@vmceap.com.

How will the furlough affect expectations for the lab's performance?

We won't be able to start NOvA or move forward on superconducting rf R&D. We will try hard to run the Tevatron very well.

Can employees apply for unemployment compensation due to the furlough? Is unemployment compensation likely?

Yes, they can, and here's here's the link to apply online: http://www.ides.state.il.us/individual/certify/

If you are RIFed, will you be able to retire?

Yes. If you are notified that you are to be RIFed, you will be eligible to receive severance. If you are eligible for retirement, you will also be able to retire. That means you will qualify for retiree medical benefits.

Was the computer professional title change delayed because of the budget crisis?

Yes, but this project is back on track now.

Where can I find the severance schedule?

You may view it at http://wdrs.fnal.gov/policies/policy/workforcereduction.html

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Furlough Period

Do we have a firm date for the regularly scheduled maintenance shutdown of the Tevatron?

We expect the shutdown to occur in early September, right after Labor Day. We should have a firm date by February 1.

Why is there a difference in the amounts of time required to be taken as furlough between exempt and nonexempt employees?

The Director made that decision.

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Scheduling Furlough Days

Why can I not take a week-long furlough that spans the end of one month and the beginning of the next? My kids will be on spring break, and it would help if I could take care of them while my wife works.

Furloughs for exempt employees cannot be taken during the weeks of March 31, 2008 to April 4, 2008, July 28, 2008 to August 1, 2008, or September 29, 2008 to October 3, 2008. All other weeks are eligible for furlough scheduling. This policy is to preserve the two-month “chunks” of the furlough period, to be fair to all employees should additional funding permit furloughs to end. Employees could, of course, choose to use vacation days to take time off during the "boundary" weeks when furloughs aren’t allowed.

Can you retroactively change furlough to vacation in order to receive overtime pay if you are called in to work outside your regular hours?

This decision is up to the supervisor and may be influenced by the furlough and vacation schedules of others in the group. If it is the last week in a two-month furlough period (say February-March) and the employee needs the furlough, then the supervisor wouldn’t be able to make the accommodation.

Can I string together vacation days and multiple furloughs to take a long time off?

That's up to your supervisor.

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Employment during Furlough

While I am on furlough, can I represent the laboratory at meetings or conferences?

No.

Can I have a brilliant idea while I am on furlough?

Yes. Just do not communicate it to your colleagues at Fermilab until your furlough ends.

Can I participate in committee work while on furlough?

No, that is considered work for the Laboratory.

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Pay and Deductions from Pay

With the amounts in my paycheck changing, how do I arrange to adjust automatic payments, for example to the bank or credit union for my mortgage payment?

Talk to your bank or credit union about automatic payments from your bank account, and to the Fermilab Payroll Office, extension 3046, on the fourth floor of Wilson Hall regarding making changes to your direct deposit. You may also make changes to your direct deposit information on Fermilab Employee Self Service.

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Off Site Assignment

How will the budget affect travel?

Decisions about travel will be in the hands of division and section heads. We will travel conservatively, but some travel is important to carry out Fermilab business effectively.

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Part-Time and Phased Retiree Employees

How does the furlough affect an exempt employee on phased retirement?

Just like an exempt part-time employee, an exempt phased retiree would take one week of furlough (totaling the number of hours normally scheduled to work in the week). For example, an exempt (monthly) phased retiree who normally works 32 hours per week would need to take one week (32 hours) of furlough during the two-month furlough period. This furlough time would not affect the exempt status of the phased retiree.

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last modified 01/28/2008   email Fermilab at Work
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