Illinois Public Colleges, Universities May Soon Be Able To Furlough Employees

Nov 14, 2016

Employees at Illinois’ public colleges and universities could soon have to take a pay cut.

Credit Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

A new rule, pending before lawmakers, would allow schools to force up to 15 days off without pay. 

Jeff Brownfield is director of an association of civil service employees. He says the state budget impasse has left some schools in dire straits, and that they asked for this measure as an option to layoffs.

"As much as nobody wants this rule, including our office, we hope that this particular rule would give another outlet instead of people losing their jobs, losing their benefits,” Brownfield said.

AFSCME's Dave Beck says the rule fails to provide a way for thousands of unionized workers to negotiate what is essentially a pay cut.

"We don't believe in anything that's unilaterally imposed by the employer. If the employees want to decide to take furloughs, then that's their choice. They can negotiate it with the employer. But it should never be imposed on them,” Beck said.

Last summer, Western and Northeastern Illinois universities used a now-expired emergency rule to furlough employees.

The new rule would include a sunset clause, terminating in October 2017.