FAQS-Furloughs

The following Frequently Asked Questions are available. By clicking on the link you will find the answer.

General Questions

1. What is furlough?

A furlough is the placement of an employee on leave and no salary of any kind is paid for the leave hours. (That means an employee will not receive shift differential or any other adjustment to pay on the furlough hours.)

2. Who is affected by the furlough?

The furlough applies to all branches of State government and includes the Nevada System of Higher Education, the Public Employees’ Retirement System and all other entities of State government other than professional and occupational licensing boards.

The furlough does not apply to employees of the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs whose standard workweek is 32 hours.

Additionally, an exception may be granted by the Board of Examiners for some positions within State government because of the need to provide appropriate services that are necessary for the protection of public health, safety and welfare. Employees in such positions will be required to take a 4.6% cut in pay for the period of time he/she does not furlough.


3. When will the furlough be in effect?

The current furlough program described below is in effect from January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021.

4. Does this only impact general fund agencies?

The furlough applies to all employees as described in question number 2 no matter the funding source for the position including grant and fee-based programs.

5. Can agency salary savings be used instead of furloughing employees?

No. Assembly Bill 3 requires each employee to be furloughed except for employees of the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs who work 32 hours per week or an employee who has been approved for exception by the Board of Examiners.

6. How much unpaid furlough leave must be taken?

A full-time employee is required to take 48 hours between January 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021 unless his/her agency receives an exception from the Board of Examiners.

If the employee is less than full-time, the employee must take a number of hours of unpaid furlough leave in portions equal to the average number of hours worked per working day multiplied by 6.

Employees who are normally exempt from receiving overtime may take unpaid furlough leave in less than 8-hour increments, but for the week of the furlough the normally exempt employee is paid on a hourly basis and must report partial day absences.

Regulation limits the number of furlough hours taken in one week. Additionally, each agency may develop policies that specify the smallest unit of time in which furloughs may be taken, e.g., in not less than 2-hour increments.


7. Can more than 48 hours of furlough leave be used in a fiscal year?

No. Furlough leave is specifically coded as a special kind of leave without pay.  Any other leave without pay that an employee takes must be approved by the appointing authority and entered on the timesheet using the appropriate code. (Part-time employees must take an amount of furlough leave that is equivalent proportionally to the requirement for a full-time employee.)

8. Will an employee still be required to take 48 hours of furlough leave if the State’s budget improves?

Yes, unless a Special Session of the Legislature is called to amend the statute requiring the furlough leave.

9. Will there be a statewide policy or will each agency be able to determine how to implement or accomplish the furlough?

Agencies will have some discretion on how to implement the furlough and address business needs, such as approving an employee’s furlough schedule and setting the minimum number of hours furlough leave can be used in at any one time. Other aspects of the furlough will not be discretionary. This is to ensure equity for all employees, such as the impact of furloughs on time taken due to a covered condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Hours and Compensation

10. Will there be a new payroll code to report furlough hours on an employee’s timesheet?

No. The same timesheet code, UFRLO, used in prior fiscal years will be used. Employees use this code when recording furlough leave on their timesheet. For agencies using the NEATS Leave/Overtime pre-approval system, UFRLO is used to request furlough leave time, and will be available in NEATS on January 1, 2021

11. Can an employee work overtime in a week in which the employee takes furlough leave?

Unless a position is exempted by the Governor's Office or the Governor's Finance Office or in the case of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the Chief Financial Officer, no. The intent of the legislation is to reduce budget liability due to salaries. If an employee takes furlough leave and subsequently needs to work additional hours in the same pay week, the employee should record this as a temporary change in the days or hours worked.

For example: a full-time employee normally works Monday through Friday. On Monday, he takes off 8 hours as furlough leave. In that same pay week, the employee is notified in advance that he will need to work 6 hours on Saturday. Two hours of furlough leave would be recorded on Monday and 6 hours of straight time would be recorded on Saturday. The timesheet comments would reflect the change in the hours worked.


12. Can an employee use Paid Added Regular Time (PADRT) in the same week as the furlough?

No. If a part-time employee takes furlough leave and subsequently needs to work additional hours in the same pay week, the employee should record this as a temporary change in the days or hours worked. Additionally, Paid Added Regular Time (PADRT) may be reported only for a part-time employee, whose total hours in a pay week may not exceed 40 hours, including regular time, furlough hours and Paid Added Regular Time.

13. Can an employee receive call back pay in the same pay period as a furlough leave?

If the call back occurs in the same pay week as furlough leave, the call back time (2 hours) can be recorded without reversing any unpaid furlough leave time; any additional hours worked beyond the 2 hours call back pay must be offset against the unpaid furlough leave time, e.g., unpaid furlough leave reversed out. The employee is not eligible for time and one-half on these additional hours until the employee is otherwise eligible for overtime in accordance with NAC 284.242 and 284.245.

Example 1: An employee is called back on his furlough day to work in accordance with NAC 284.214 and the employee works 1 hour. Call back pay requires payment for the first 2 hours at time and one-half. Two hours are coded as call back pay and there is no reduction in the furlough leave time.

Example 2: An employee furloughed on Monday 8 hours. He worked 8 hours on the following 4 days equaling 32 hours of work time. On Saturday, he is called back to work (without prior notification) for 6 hours. The employee would record 2 hours of call back pay and 4 hours of straight time on Saturday. Monday’s furlough leave would be adjusted to reflect 4 hours of furlough leave. No other work hours would be recorded on Monday.


14. Can an employee be placed on standby when he/she is on furlough leave?

If the employee is called back into work from standby in the same pay week in which he/she took unpaid furlough leave, the employee must reduce his unpaid furlough leave time by the same amount of time as the additional hours worked.

Example: An employee furloughed on Monday 8 hours. He worked 8 hours on the following 4 days equaling 32 hours of work time. On Saturday he was on standby for 3 hours when he was notified that he must return to work. The employee worked 4 hours on Saturday before returning to standby status for 1 additional hour. The employee would record 4 hours of standby by pay and 4 hours of straight time on Saturday. Monday’s furlough leave would be adjusted to reflect 4 hours of furlough leave. No other work hours would be recorded on Monday.


15. Does furlough leave change the exempt status of salaried employees?

Yes, temporarily. During the week that any furlough leave is taken, employees who are normally exempt from receiving overtime become hourly employees and subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Additionally, partial day absences for leave (annual, sick, family sick, etc.) must be recorded on the employee’s timesheet if taken during the week in which furlough leave is recorded.

16. Can a normally exempt employee still work more than 32 hours in the week they take the furlough leave?

No. The intent of the legislation is to reduce budget liability due to salaries.

17. Since exempt employees are paid on an hourly basis during the week of the furlough, should these employees sign a variable workweek agreement to only allow overtime after 40 hours in a workweek?

A normally exempt employee may sign a variable workweek agreement (TS-78) if they wish to work more than 8 hours in one day but not accrue an overtime liability in the week furlough leave is taken.

18. Can an employee volunteer to take more than 48 hours of furlough leave?

No.

19. Can an employee volunteer to take more than 48 hours of furlough leave thereby allowing someone else not to take furlough leave?

No.

20. Can an employee take all of his or her furlough leave at one time?

No. Employees are limited to taking no more than 12 hours of unpaid furlough leave in a pay week even if the employee would have otherwise been required to be in a leave without pay status.

21. What is reported as an employee’s pay for requests on garnishments?

The hourly rate of the employee without regard to the impact of the furlough will be reported.

22. What impact will furloughs have if an employee currently has creditor garnishments or student loans being taken out of his pay?

Creditor garnishments and student loans are calculated as a percentage of disposable income. A reduction in pay will reduce the amount of the disposable income therefore lowering the deduction. This may lengthen the repayment of the debt.

23. What impact will furloughs have if an employee currently has child support or spousal support being taken out of his pay?

A furlough would not relieve the State from its obligation to deduct any fixed amounts ordered by a court. The employee is responsible for any amount that is owed and not available for deduction from the employee’s paycheck.

24. What is reported as an employee’s pay for requests on child support?

The actual earned wages of the employee will be reported.

25. If an employee’s lender requests annual salary information, will the value of the furlough leave reduce the reported annual salary?

Yes, annual salary information requests will reflect all furlough leave that has been taken year-to-date.

26. If an employee has payroll deductions for employee association or union dues, can the employee stop the deduction at anytime?

No. In accordance with NAC 281.260, employee association or union dues can only be cancelled in the 2-week period preceding the anniversary date of the enrollment.

27. If an employee’s salary has been frozen due to NAC 284.290, will the employee be required to take furlough leave?

Yes.

28. Can an employee take a pay cut of instead of taking the furlough leave?

A department may only ask for an exception if it determines that a position cannot be subject to the furlough because of the need to provide appropriate services that are necessary to protect the public health, safety or welfare; the public health, safety or welfare will be significantly diminished if mandatory furlough leave is implemented for employees in these positions; and no alternatives exist to provide for the protection, of public health, safety or welfare. If an exception is approved by the Board of Examiners (see the Governor's Finance Office memo for instructions on requesting an exception), employees in these positions will be required to have their pay reduced by 4.6%. The decrease in pay affects not only the employee’s rate of pay but also his/her retirement, rate of pay for overtime, and other pay types that are a percentage of the employee’s hourly rate.

Leave and Attendance

29. Will employees accrue furlough leave?

No. Furlough leave is not accrued like annual leave or sick leave. A full-time employee is required to take 48 hours from January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021 unless his/her agency receives an exception from the Board of Examiners. If the employee is less than full-time, the employee must take a number of hours of unpaid furlough leave in portions equal to the average number of hours worked per working day multiplied by 6.

30. How does an employee request to take required furlough leave?

Furlough leave must be approved in advance using the department's leave request procedures in the same manner as any other leave.

31. Can an appointing authority require an employee to take furlough leave on a specific date?

Yes. Management must ensure appropriate staffing levels and ensure that furloughs are taken as efficiently as possible.

32. Can an employee take his/her furlough leave anytime the employee wants?

No. Furlough leave must be scheduled and approved in the same manner as other leave. Ultimately management must ensure appropriate staffing levels and ensure that furloughs are taken as efficiently as possible. Each agency will develop policies to ensure that furloughs are taken in a manner that supports the continued operation of the agency.

33. Can a department require employees take the furlough leave in no less than a specified number of hours, e.g., not less than four hours?

Yes. Management must ensure appropriate staffing levels and ensure that furloughs are taken as efficiently as possible.

34. Will an employee’s annual and sick leave accrual rates be affected by the furlough?

No.

35. Will an employee be eligible to receive a payoff on excess annual leave at the end of the calendar year if the employee wasn’t able to use the leave due to the furlough?

NRS 284.350 limits employees from carrying more than 320.00 hours of annual leave from one calendar year to the next. Employees should make every effort to reduce their excess annual leave and use the appropriate amount of furlough leave to prevent a possible forfeiture of annual leave hours. An employee may request payment for excess annual leave in accordance with the procedures set forth in NRS 284.350.

36. How will furlough leave affect the 1,250 hours worked eligibility requirement for FMLA?

Furlough leave will be considered time worked for the purposes of calculating eligibility for FMLA.

37. How will furlough impact an employee who is on Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for a qualifying event? (Will it count against the employee’s entitlement?)

Furlough leave will not count against the employee's entitlement for FMLA.

38. Will the event coding be different for an employee who is on FMLA and is required to take furlough leave?

If unpaid furlough leave is taken during the time an employee is on FMLA, the timesheet is coded as furlough leave, UFRLO, and the time will not count against the employee’s FMLA entitlement. An employee is limited to 48 hours of furlough leave from January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021. Under no circumstances will an exception be granted for more than 12 hours of unpaid furlough leave in a pay week.

39. May an employee substitute eight furlough leave hours for a paid holiday?

No. Holiday pay is provided in statute and salary cannot be provided on a furlough leave day.

40. May an employee request a furlough day before or after a paid State holiday or in conjunction with paid leave?

Yes as long as the furlough leave is requested and approved in advance.

41. May an employee substitute paid leave (annual, sick, or compensatory time) for furlough leave?

No. Furlough leave must be unpaid time off.

42. May an employee work when scheduled off due to the furlough?

No work of any kind may be performed during the time to be considered furlough. This prohibition includes working at home, monitoring emails and telephone messages, and responding to inquiries from work.

43. May employees use furlough leave on a scheduled day off due to a compressed workweek schedule? For example: the employee normally works a 10-hour shift?

No. Furlough leave must replace 8 hours of work otherwise there is no salary savings.

44. Will employees on 10-hour shifts be able to use furlough leave in 10-hour increments?

Yes; however, employees are limited to taking no more than 12 hours of furlough leave in a pay week.

45. Should employees who normally work four 10-hour days stay on that schedule the week they take furlough leave or should the employee’s schedule be adjusted to eight hours each day?

Employees are limited to taking no more than 12 hours of furlough leave in a pay week. Ultimately management must ensure appropriate staffing levels and ensure that furloughs are taken as efficiently as possible. Each agency will develop policies to ensure that furloughs are taken in a manner that supports the continued operation of the agency.

46. Can an employee who would have qualified for paid military leave, pursuant to NRS 281.145, elect to use furlough leave instead?

The employee may elect to use furlough leave instead of receiving paid military leave.

47. Should an employee’s State pay be adjusted to reflect the impact of the furlough when determining eligibility for Military Differential Pay pursuant to NAC 284.588?

Yes. Use the ML-4 form located on the Division of Human Resource Management’s website to determine if the employee is eligible for the differential pay.

48. Should an employee on Military Leave Without Pay (UMLWP) participate in the furlough?

Yes. This will ensure the employee receives the appropriate annual leave and sick leave accruals that other furloughed employees receive.

49. What is the impact on an employee who is using catastrophic leave?

Similar to other employees, an employee on catastrophic leave must take the furlough leave.

50. What is the impact on an employee who has been placed on extended administrative leave?

Each employee is subject to the furlough. The employee may take the furlough leave either during the time they would have been on administrative leave or after they return.

51. If an employee has been selected for jury duty, can he substitute the use of civic leave with a furlough leave day?

Yes.

Impact of Certain Employment Actions/Status

52. How will employees receiving a promotion be impacted by the furlough?

Each employee is subject to the furlough. The furlough is not based upon the position the employee is in unless the movement increases or reduces the employee's hours, e.g., part-time to full-time.

53. How will employees transferring from one position to another be impacted by the furlough?

Each employee is subject to the furlough. The furlough is not based upon the position the employee is in unless the movement increases or reduces the employee's hours, e.g., part-time to full-time.

54. How are employees who are in Seasonal, Intermittent, Temporary, or Emergency positions impacted by the furlough?

Each employee is subject to the furlough no matter the type of appointment.

55. How much furlough leave does a part-time employee have to take?

Unless an exemption is approved, an employee who is less than full-time must take a number of hours of unpaid furlough leave in portions equal to the average number of hours worked per working day multiplied by 6.

56. What if an employee terminates before using the required furlough leave?

If the employee leaves State service prior taking the proportional amount of furlough leave required, the position must be left vacant a sufficient period of time to reduce the salary liability. (Also see response to question 63.)

57. Will an employee’s pay progression date be impacted by the furlough?

No.

58. Will the furlough extend an employee’s probationary period?

No.

59. Will the furlough impact an employee’s seniority for the order of layoff?

No. Furlough leave is treated as if the employee were in paid status.

60. How will employees serving in an acting capacity be impacted by furloughs?

Each employee is subject to the furlough no matter the type of appointment.

61. Will new hires be affected by the furlough?

Each employee is subject to the furlough no matter when the employee is hired during the 6-month period unless an exception is pre-approved by the Board of Examiners. The employee will only be responsible for the proportional amount of time remaining in the fiscal year starting with the first full month of employment. For example: A full-time employee begins work on 1/15/21. The employee would be required to furlough 40 hours from February 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021.

62. If an employee leaves State service and has taken more furlough leave than would have been required, will the employee be reimbursed for the excess hours?

No. If the employee has taken more time off than would have been proportionally required, the employee will not be reimbursed as the employee did not perform work during those hours so they are not compensable.

63. Will employees be required to take a furlough day if their last day of employment is before the last day of the month?

An appointing authority may require an employee who is leaving State service prior to the end of the month to fulfill his/her furlough requirement. If it is not in the best interest of the State for the employee to furlough, e.g., due to staffing issues or other business necessity, the department will still be responsible for ensuring the appropriate salary savings is achieved prior to filling the position.

64. Can an employee’s classification be changed as a result of being furloughed?

No.

65. Can an employee’s shift be changed as a result of being furloughed?

Ultimately management must ensure appropriate staffing levels and ensure that furloughs are taken as efficiently as possible. This may result in employees' shifts changing, at least temporarily, in order to ensure appropriate coverage. Each agency will develop policies to ensure that furloughs are taken in a manner that supports the continued operation of the agency.

Health Benefits/PEBP

66. Will the furlough (reduction in hours) be considered a qualifying life event in which an employee can stop or change his/her health insurance and life insurance plans?

The furlough leave will not have an impact on employee health coverage. Therefore, changes to employee's health coverage would not be allowed based solely on the furlough leave event.

67. Can employees stop or change contributions to their health care or dependent care flexible spending accounts as a result of the furlough?

This question has two answers as follows:

Flexible Spending Account for Health Care:  Employees would not be allowed to modify health coverage based on the mandatory furlough. Under AB 3, the furlough leave is to be considered a work day (or portion of a work day) for all purposes except salary. Therefore, it will not impact employee eligibility under PEBP.

Flexible Spending Account for Dependent Care: Employees enrolled in the Dependent Care FSA would be allowed to reduce their Dependent Care election. The Qualifying Event would be that the employee’s need for Dependent Care during the furlough leave is no longer required.


68. Will a part-time employee lose his/her health coverage as a result of the furlough leave now reducing his/her hours below 80 hours in a month?

Under AB 3, the furlough leave is to be considered a work day (or portion of a work day) for all purposes except salary. If an employee has a reduction in hours (below 80), as a result of the furlough, the employee’s health coverage would continue as usual.

69. Can employees stop or change contributions to their health savings account as a result of furlough?

Contributions to health savings accounts may be modified or suspended at any time.

70. How can I find out more information about my health benefits?

The Public Employees' Benefits Program can be contacted by calling (775) 684-7000 or (800) 326-5496 and their website is located at: https://pebp.state.nv.us/.

Retirement

71. Will the furlough impact an employee’s retirement contribution and payable benefits?

No, furlough leave will not change the required contributions to the Retirement System and will not impact the employee's retirement benefits. Employees will receive service credit for the unpaid furlough time in the same manner as worked time. Salary information will be reported to the Retirement System for unpaid furlough time in the same manner as salary is reported for worked time so that an employee's average compensation for retirement benefit purposes will not be impacted.

72. Specifically, how does furlough impact an employee’s retirement contribution?

The furlough bill requires all retirement contributions be made to the Retirement System by the employer based on the compensation that would have been paid absent the unpaid furlough leave.

The furlough bill allows the employer to collect the employee’s share of the retirement contribution under the employee/employer retirement plan from the employee for the unpaid furlough time. The employee’s share of the retirement contribution will be collected in the same manner as all other employee retirement contributions, as an after-tax deduction from the employee’s salary.


73. Are the retirement benefits accrued on a furlough day taxable?

Retirement benefits accrued on furlough days will be the same as all other retirement benefits accrued by the employee.

Other

74. Does an employee have grievance rights regarding the furlough?

The requirement to take furlough leave cannot be grieved but how and when an employee is approved to take the furlough leave can be grieved. In order to avoid grievances, each agency will develop a written policy regarding how that agency will implement the furlough and communicate that policy to all agency employees.

75. What happens if an employee does not take the required furlough leave?

With few exceptions, each employee must take furlough leave. It is up to managers and supervisors to ensure that their employees are in compliance. If an employee refuses to take the furlough leave, the employee can be required to take a specific time off and be disciplined for failure to follow direction.

76. Who is responsible for ensuring that furloughs are taken as required?

Employees must monitor their time to ensure that they have taken the appropriate amount of furlough leave. Employees who record their time in NEATS are able to view the number of hours taken. Additionally, agency management is responsible for ensuring that their employees are taking the appropriate amount of time and monitoring the budgetary savings. Reports are currently available in the HR Data Warehouse to management with the appropriate security access.

77. What type of reports will be available for agency management?

Furlough analysis reports are currently available in the HR Data Warehouse to track individual furlough hours and the corresponding salary savings.

78. What is the impact of Workers’ Compensation benefits related to the furlough?

The employee must take the required number of furlough leave hours when absent for an extended period of time due to a work-related injury. The benefit amount received for the furlough leave hours is payable to the employee.

79. Will an employee be eligible for unemployment benefits due to the furlough?

Eligibility for unemployment compensation is determined by the Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation.

80. Will the furlough hours be reflected as a running total in NEATS?

Yes. Employees who record their time in NEATS are able to review unpaid furlough leave time taken. This information is displayed as a total by fiscal year for FY21. Additionally, on an employee's NEATS Home Page under the Personnel Tasks listing, an employee may view the specific days in which unpaid furlough leave was taken by clicking on the "View My Furlough Information" link.

81. Will the furlough have any impact on the amount that can be contributed to a deferred compensation account?

No, but if an employee needs to reduce the amounts of his/her automatic contribution to a deferred compensation account, the employee should contact his/her agency's pay clerk or Central Payroll.