UW Implements Furloughs AND $15 Minimum Wage

So if you’re lucky enough to keep your job, you’ll make more. Of course, more people could keep their jobs if UW didn’t set an artificial wage floor, but that’s how the minimum wage works.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will implement more furloughs for spring semester to help offset revenue losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. The first round of unpaid leave, announced in August, ends this month.

Furloughs will begin Jan. 1 and last through June 30 to allow time for employees’ pay to return to normal, Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in an email Monday. They will have the same graduated structure as the current furloughs, ranging from three monthly furlough days with a 2.5% pay reduction to six monthly furlough days with a 4.6% pay reduction.

The university estimates that revenue between March and the end of this fiscal year in June 2021 will be about $320 million less than anticipated, Blank said. Some of the shortfall was offset through cost savings efforts, such as $27 million in savings from furloughs and salary reductions.

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UW-Madison will also continue moving forward with its commitment to a $15 minimum wage for all hourly employees. Though it temporarily halted the plan earlier this year, Blank said it will go into effect Jan. 17, mainly affecting custodial, animal care and food-service employees.