President Drake Begins Consultation Process on Possible Expanded Curtailment Program

Dear colleagues,

The Office of the President asked that we share this letter regarding options that address the system-wide financial impact of COVID-19. One solution under consideration is an expansion of the curtailment program, which would require some employees to increase the number of vacation or unpaid leave days taken each year. Currently at UCI, non-critical campus-based employees take three days off as vacation or unpaid leave during the winter break.

President Drake emphasized that decisions will be guided by core principles, outlined below:

  • Measured cuts: we will only move forward with a curtailment expansion after implementing other prudent financial savings measures (you may recall former UC President Janet Napolitano implemented restrictions last spring and summer on hiring, business travel, and other spending);
  • Protect as many jobs as possible: by taking measured steps early, we hope to preserve jobs, healthcare benefits, and pensions, and stave off the need for furloughs and temporary or permanent layoffs;
  • Progressive approach: we will aim to ensure that our most vulnerable employees are the least impacted. Any cost-savings plan would be progressive and will have a larger impact on those with higher earnings;
  • Minimal disruption: any plan we adopt will allow campuses to achieve material savings while providing flexibility to maintain essential campus and medical center services, such as UCPath and the UC Retirement Administration Service Center (RASC).

In addition to the letter, President Drake shared two background documents with the chancellors: [President Drake Cover Letter for 2020-21 Proposed Curtailment 10-10-20 ] [Proposed 2020-21 Curtailment Program Description 10-10-20]. This is all of the information that has been provided so far. We will provide additional information as it becomes available to us.

The president is calling on our campus community to comment on a potential curtailment expansion. Specifically, his letter states that “…no final decisions have been made. At this juncture, we are simply considering our options and seeking feedback from UC constituents to help shape our approach.”

We have established a special email address to compile our feedback on this proposal: UCOPFeedback@uci.edu. We encourage you to share your views, questions and concerns by 5 p.m. on November 2, which will be delivered directly to the president’s office.

UCI entered this pandemic era in strong financial condition, thanks to your hard work and many years of sound fiscal management, so we have not been forced to take the painful workforce actions instituted by many of our higher-education peers. We are committed to doing everything we can to preserve jobs, and have no plans for furloughs or layoffs beyond those that occur seasonally each year.

At UCI, we’re fortunate that we can review next steps from a position of strength.  This couldn’t have happened without your commitment to excellence, and we are truly grateful for your efforts.

Sincerely,

Hal S. Stern, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Statistics