Clemson as well as other schools are having to make some tough decisions in 2020
Clemson as well as other schools are having to make some tough decisions in 2020

Clemson institutes furlough program from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31

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Due to the ongoing financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Clemson University has made the difficult decision to begin a mandatory furlough program in coordination with the South Carolina Department of Human Resources.

This action is in addition the University’s ongoing hiring freeze and other cost reduction measures that have been taken in recent months to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic.

The furlough period begins Sept. 1 and continues through the end of the calendar year. The number of furlough days an employee must take is determined by the salary of each employee, and approximately half of Clemson’s full-time workforce statewide will be impacted.

Contracted employees who are not mandatory participants in the furlough program will take a pay reduction equivalent to their comparable salary bracket in the mandatory furlough program. Additionally, President Clements and all athletics employees making more than $400,000 annually have voluntarily taken at least a 10 percent reduction in compensation.

Overview of Furlough Program Details

Employees must take their required number of days off without pay between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31.

State law prohibits employees from working while on furlough, and days must be taken in full-day increments.

Nine-month employees with partial-day furlough responsibility must take full-day increments with the exception of the partial-day balance. (i.e., Those with 2.3 days must take two full days and .3 of a day.)

Employees will continue to receive health care, retirement and other benefits while on furlough, and will be credited for their state employee service time.

Employees may not use annual leave, compensatory time, their optional holiday, or sick leave to offset the impact of the furlough.

Affected employees will receive individual communications via email from the University’s Office of Human Resources detailing specifics of their furlough. Additional questions may be directed to the ASK-HR helpdesk.

Letter from President Clements to faculty and staff:

Dear Faculty and Staff:

I am extremely proud of the way in which you have responded to the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. You have been tireless in your efforts to ensure our students' success and to keep our community safe in an uncertain and changing environment.

I am confident that we have the plans and the people in place to complete a safe and successful academic year. That said, the pandemic has already taken a significant financial toll on the University in the form of lost revenue and increased operating costs.

Our latest financial models estimate that the COVID-related impact on Clemson could be as much as $180 million by the end of the current fiscal year. At a minimum, the impact is expected to be $120 million.

To compound our challenges, we were simply not in a position to increase tuition at a time when many of our students are suffering economic hardship. And while we are working in earnest with our congressional and state leaders, additional revenues coming to the University from state and federal sources are not yet known.

Fortunately, we entered the pandemic financially strong and the steps we have already taken to control our costs – from the hiring freeze we instituted in the spring, to stopping non-essential travel, to curtailing operating expenses across every division at the University – have helped mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

After exhaustive study and careful consideration, I am announcing the University's latest step to offset the financial impact of the pandemic: a combination of involuntary furloughs and voluntary pay reductions that will affect approximately half our employees statewide.

These actions will begin Sept. 1 and are expected to generate more than $8 million in personnel savings – or the equivalent of saving approximately 150 median-level positions.

These actions fall into two categories: Furloughs for state employees, which constitute the vast majority of our work force, and pay reductions for myself and 88 employees in Athletics who are contractually exempt from the mandatory furlough plan.

A guiding principle in our discussions around these actions has been to minimize the financial impact to our lower-paid employees. As such, those employees earning less than $50,000, which comprise approximately half of Clemson's 6,500 full-time employees statewide, will not be affected by these actions.

The remaining Clemson employees will be affected to an increasing degree, based on salary, with our highest earners being furloughed for 12 days. Furloughs will extend through Dec. 31.

In addition, those under contract in Athletics have agreed to take pay reductions equivalent to the amount of pay they would have lost through furloughs, with all Athletics staff members who earn $400,000 or more taking at least a 10 percent pay reduction. I also will take a 10 percent reduction in my total compensation.

Further details related to these actions can be found here and affected employees will receive an individual e-mail communication from Human Resources.

These are indeed very challenging times and we are all in this together. I know that losing any compensation is difficult. Moving forward, we will continue to operate as efficiently as possible while still delivering a first-rate education to our students.

The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic likely won't be known for some time. I can promise, however, that we will be open and honest in communicating our future plans, and all decisions will be made with the interests of our employees in mind.

As always, thanks to everyone for all you doto keep Clemson strong. I am proud to call you teammates.


Jim Clements


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