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Furloughs at Fermilab

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Latest Furlough Questions & Answers

Answers to questions (posted on January 29, 2008)

Have a question about the furlough?
Click here to submit a question


Concerning the furlough, and calculating the hourly rate for exempt employees, I understand that 2080 working hours/year is the standard number used, based on 260 weekdays per year.  However, for 2008 this is not correct.  Partially due to the leap year, there are 262 weekdays, which would be 2096 working hours per year. If this is corrected, it would lower an exempt employee’s hourly rate... and lessen the amount of pay loss.

The 2080 hours is a national payroll standard that is used by the majority of companies in the US and is the one Fermilab has used for at least 15 years. This hourly rate is used in vacation and sick time accruals and affects all payroll costs. It is also the rate that will be used in paying out severance and vacation pay upon termination.

Do nonexempt (weekly) employees have a minimum furlough duration? For example, can a weekly employee take a 1/2 day furlough or a bunch of 15-minute furloughs?

A non-exempt employee can take the furlough in one-hour increments.

In the answer to a previous question, it was stated "The Laboratory does not expect to issue notices of layoffs before early April." Once a layoff notice is issued to an employee, how long will it be until the individual is terminated from work? In other words, how much notice will be given?

All the details have not been worked out yet for the layoffs. An individual notice time has not yet been determined.

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Furlough Period

Since Friday is February 1, but within the weekly pay period 1/28/08 - 2/3/08, may a nonexempt employee take furlough time on February 1 and/or 2?

Yes, February 1 st is available as a furlough day for nonexempt employees (as well as February 2 nd and February 3 rd for those who are scheduled to work those days).

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Pay and Deductions from Pay

How is a furlough week that spans two pay periods (not calendar months) treated? Example: week of May 19. The monthly pay period ends during that week on Wednesday. Does the first paycheck (May 31) include three days of furlough, and the next check (June 30) include the remaining two days (assuming no more furlough taken in that second pay period)?

In the example you cite the May 31 paycheck would be reduced by three days times eight hours (your annual salary/2080hours) and the June 30 paycheck would be reduced by two days times eight hours (your annual salary/2080hours).

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May I take a loan from my retirement account during the furlough?

The 403(b) plan has a loan feature that allows you to borrow against your account. The 401(a) plan does not have a loan feature.

The 401(a) plan is the basic retirement plan to which Fermilab contributes 10 percent of the employee’s salary. The 403(b) plan is the supplemental plan to which employees may contribute their own pretax dollars. They may invest their money with TIAA CREF, Fidelity, Dreyfus or T. Rowe Price.

Both TIAA CREF and Fidelity allow for loans from your 403(b) account. The amount of the loan and the repayment period depend on the type of loan. Loans are not available through Dreyfus or T. Rowe Price.

Information on the loan process and impact of taking a loan on your retirement account can be obtained by calling TIAA CREF at 1-800/842-2776 or Fidelity at

1-800/343-0860 or on the following web sites:



To access the web site data you will need to establish a log-in and password.

Representatives from TIAA CREF and Fidelity will be available to answer individual questions and conduct counseling sessions on the following dates:

The representative will be at Wilson Hall in the Aquarium Conference Room on
the 15th floor.
Employees can make appointments by calling 1-800/842-2005 extension 5602 or
at the TIAA CREF web site

The representative will be at Wilson Hall
January 30  One North
February 13 Small Dining Room
February 27 Aquarium
Employees can make appointments by calling 1-800/642-7131 or using the
Fidelity web site

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H1-B Visa Holders

I am a monthly full-time employee on H1-B visa. What will I be starting February 1? Full time or part time? Exempt or nonexempt? Monthly or weekly? Why are H1 Visa holders not treated fairly with respect to other employees? If full-time H1 Visa holders can be reclassified to part-time, why not all employees?

As of now you will be part-time, exempt, which means monthly. However, Fermilab is re-examining the furlough situation for H1B visa holders. Information will be coming out to H1-B holders this week.

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last modified 01/29/2008   email Fermilab at Work
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