Universities within the Univerity of Wisconsin System are having employees take unpaid time off because of rising concerns over COVID-19. 

The UW System will furlough their administrative staff for one day each month through June 2021, saving then $3 million dollars, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. The UW System predicts that the pandemic will cost its campuses about $170 million for just the spring semester.

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This estimate is totaled by added costs of issuing refunds for on-campus parking, dining and housing services. Universities also have to pay for technology purchases to assist with moving classes online and student employees’ paychecks. 

Individual chancellors at each UW university will decide on how to implement their furlough policy, according to a unanimous decision by the Board of Regents.

UW-Milwaukee announced they will likely have a campus-wide furlough affecting roughly 3,700 employees, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

UW-Madison plans on releasing their furlough policy at the end of the month, according to a statement released by UW. 

“We have taken significant steps to support our employees, such as extending COVID-19 related paid leave until May 1 for employees not working on-site and unable to work remotely,” the UW-Madison statement said.

The Board of Regents requested UW-Madison draft a furlough policy in place if needed, according to UW-Madison’s statement. UW-Madison extended their gratitude in the statement, showing appreciation for their employees’ efforts during this uncertain period.

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“We deeply value the work of our faculty and staff, along with the flexibility and creativity they’ve employed to keep the university running during this period,” the UW-Madison statement said.

UW-Madison plans on looking over available options based on the Board of Regents’ suggestions so the university can efficiently handle the COVID-19 crisis in a financially responsible way, according to the statement.