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Update: December 29, 2020: Gov. David Ige has determined that furloughs of state employees are not
necessary this fiscal year and will be delayed until at least July 1, 2021.

This update was shared with the faculty and staff of the 10-campus University of Hawaiʻi system on December 23, 2020.

Aloha UH employees,

Governor David Ige advised today that he will be delaying the furloughs of state employees that had been scheduled for January 1, 2021. Per the latest update from the Governor’s Office:

“Governor David Ige announced today that there will be a delay in state furloughs. In a letter sent to state employees this afternoon, the governor said the state had been waiting months to see if Congress would provide additional federal funds to help address the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts here in University of Hawaiʻi. On Monday, a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill was passed, and while the aid package doesn’t provide designated funding to state and local governments for revenue shortfall, it does provide direct funding for mitigation measures that the state would have to pay for otherwise, such as vaccine distribution, testing, education, and more. Based on the promise of federal aid, the governor made the decision to delay the implementation of the furloughs, which was set to begin on Jan. 1, 2021. However, he added that because it’s a fluid situation, there is no timeline of when the furloughs will begin.”

We will continue to provide updates as information becomes available. (Latest update at top of this page)

Thank you for your continued patience and commitment to serve our students and the people of University of Hawaiʻi. Please enjoy a safe and healthy holiday season with your ohana.

The University of University of Hawaiʻi

This update was shared with the faculty and staff of the 10-campus University of Hawaiʻi system on December 21, 2020.

Aloha UH employees,

As you may have heard, Governor David Ige today announced the possibility of delaying the start of furloughs based on the imminent passage by Congress of another round of COVID-19 federal stimulus funding.

We know that anxiety and concerns are high, but it would be premature to announce furlough details while there is still a question as to whether the furloughs will proceed. The University of Hawaiʻi is prepared to provide a full implementation plan if a final determination to proceed is made by the Governor.

Thank you for your continued hard work and patience during these challenging times,
The University of Hawaiʻi

Read more: Breakdown of UH budget proposed by governor.

Original message

This message was shared with the faculty and staff of the 10-campus University of Hawaiʻi system on December 9, 2020.

Aloha UH employees,

Today, Hawaiʻi Gov. David Ige announced that the state will start implementing two furlough days each month for state employees, beginning on January 1, 2021, to address the severe budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Ige’s full message can be read in his press release. The state is projecting a $1.4 billion general fund shortfall for each of the next four years, and the Governor stated that, even after taking many other fiscal measures, including borrowing a large sum of money, the furloughs are necessary to achieve a balanced budget.

The governor has provided the University of Hawaiʻi (and the Hawaiʻi Department of Education) the flexibility to implement the equivalent two furlough days a month in ways that accommodate our educational schedules and needs. Details on how the furloughs will be implemented within UH are still forthcoming and will be provided as soon as they are finalized.

These furloughs alone will not be sufficient to address all of the financial challenges facing the state and the university. The work to address the full impacts of the budget crisis is continuing through active engagement across our campuses.

This is a painful message to share, especially given your amazing dedication and hard work through these difficult times while many of you are also strained and stressed by what COVID-19 is doing to you and your ohana. As Gov. Ige noted, the harsher alternative to furloughs is layoffs, which we have all seen devastate employees in the private sector throughout Hawaiʻi. He has committed that the furloughs will be rescinded as soon as they are no longer needed.

E mālama pono,
David Lassner
University of Hawaiʻi President

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