At Least I Have a Job

We got news late last night from the President of the University about what changes will be in effect for the rest of the fiscal year (through June 30th).

I told you that in January they declared a state of financial emergency, suspended our matching retirement contributions, and fired 25 of my colleagues. Then a few weeks ago they told us that there WOULD be more changes. The implication was that more people would be fired.

Last night the extent of the new changes were made public:

  • Complete suspension of retirement benefits. That’s right, no 3% base retirement on top of the 6% matching funds they cut in January. They plan to reinstate the 3% base retirement on July 1st. No word yet on when/if the matching retirements will be reinstated.
  • Spending freeze in all departments. No one can spend any money on anything for any reason without approval from the Vice-President of Academics. So if you need lab chemicals or teaching resources, too bad. Make do. (Now I’m really wishing that I’d bought the stuff I needed earlier this week when I thought about it!)
  • 2-week mandatory furlough. Every employee is REQUIRED to take two weeks of unpaid vacation over the next 4 months. For staff members this is easy, they just don’t go to work 10 days. For us faculty members who HAVE to teach classes, who HAVE to grade papers, who HAVE to prepare lecture notes, essentially it amounts to a pay decrease for the next 4 months. We’ll be receiving an ~15% reduction in our paycheck for the next four months to account for this “vacation time”.  This results in an overall reduction in my yearly salary by 3.8%, or $1,964 (for me).

Believe it or not, most of the faculty see this as a GOOD thing. While no one wants their salary reduced, the flip side is that we all still have jobs. Personally, I would rather have a smaller salary and momentary suspension in benefits than to not have a job.

Apparently we should be receiving our contracts for the 2011-2012 school year in the next week. What do you think the chances are that I will be getting a raise? Yeah…. right…. I doubt it either.

So expect some posts in the next few days about a change in my budget to reflect the changes in my pay, as well as more ideas that I’ll have for compensating for this loss.

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12 Responses to At Least I Have a Job

  1. LB says:

    Sorry about all the cuts, but like you said it is better to have a job with less benefits then no job at all. I lost my job last year and was only able to secure a part-time job. I have no benefits, but I like the job and it CAN lead to better things. My husband lost his job last year and found a decent one with benefits and a growing company. Just recently they had to fire 10 people because the company lost a customer and will be letting more go in the future. I think the company dropped a lot of the extra benefits already, so the only other option is letting more go unless they get more customers 😦

    From reading your blog, I think you have a little more of a chance of sticking around, because of the classes you teach and things you know. Just keep that niche, save the company money and keep networking and you will be find 🙂

  2. I’m so worried that this year is going to be the year we get furloughed too. It’s hard working at a state school! Luckily we’re not at the laying off point, other than vacant positions that aren’t being filled.

    Good luck with everything.

    • SS4BC says:

      Furlough sucks. Especially for us professors. It just isn’t cool to expect us to do the same job at a lower salary. While it is better than the alternative, it isn’t much better. I just hope that I can start to make some positive changes in our department in the next few years that increase our enrollment in sciences.

  3. psychsarah says:

    It sounds like you’re taking the news proactively and as well as can be expected. It sucks, but it could suck more, essentially. At least you have a handle on your finances so you can re-jig your budget to accomodate these changes.

  4. Yikes, that’s scary and lame.

  5. Serendipity says:

    I agree with Sarah. The changes suck but at least your being pro-active about it and your on top of your finances so you can see where you need to adjust your budget. Hopefully things get better or at least, stop getting worse.

  6. TMcImmy says:

    Losing benefits sucks, but *hopefully* this is a temporary thing. Unfortunately people make decisions about education a bit in advance; the school probably already knows how many incoming students will be around in the fall and is budgeting accordingly. The good news is the economy is slowly improving and it’s extremely unlikely next year will be worse than this year. The big issue will be how long it takes them to reinstate the matching as things get better.

    Is there a way to spread out your furlough? I realize you already don’t have enough hours in the day. But is it possible to say give yourself every other Friday off? Or would you just end up scrambling the remaining days to make up for it?

  7. Jennifer says:

    You might be able to collect unemployment benefits if you take the furlough in full week increments. It works this way in Wisconsin as my hubby was able to collect during his furlough last year but not sure about other states.

  8. Pingback: Negotiation « Small Steps for Big Change

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