Financial Updates & Benefits Changes

A summary of steps being taken in response to projected budget deficits for the 2020-21 fiscal year due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updated August 2020

Read the full community message from former President Jonathan Veitch and COO Amos Himmelstein regarding these changes, and a subsequent update on the 2020-21 fiscal year from President Elam. A summary of the changes that will impact Occidental College employees is below, and you can read additional information on our FAQ pages:

Summary of Changes

  • All members of the senior leadership, including both the outgoing and incoming presidents, will be taking voluntary pay reductions ranging from 4%-10% in addition to their participation in all other changes.

  • We are implementing a salary freeze for faculty and staff positions, except those that are contractually required or linked to promotions.

  • We are continuing the current hiring freeze. Any exceptions to the freeze will require approval by the president.

  • We will be suspending the employer matching contribution to the 403(b) retirement plan from August 1, 2020 until July 1, 2021. Employees will continue to receive the 6% employer contribution that does not require an employee contribution. Additional information about the changes to the retirement plan can be found in the retirement plan change FAQs.

  • Over the course of the fiscal year that runs from 7/1/20-6/30/21, we will be implementing progressive furloughs for non-faculty employees who accrue vacation.

    • Employees who earn less than $50,000 annually will be furloughed for 5 work days

    • Employees who earn $50,000 - $99,999 annually will be furloughed for 10 work days

    • Employees who earn $100,000 or more annually will be furloughed for 15 work days

    • Employees may use vacation time during their furloughed period(s) to maintain full salary. Employee participation in medical, dental and vision group insurance plans will not be affected by these one- to three-week furloughs. Additional information about progressive furloughs can be found in the fiscal year 2020-21 furlough FAQs.
       
  • We will be changing our vacation accrual policy. Employees will maintain the time already earned but, going forward, accrual rates will change resulting in reductions of potential vacation earned for many, though not all, employees. Additional information about this change to vacation policy can be found in the vacation changes FAQs.
  • We will be suspending all non-essential construction and renovation projects.

  • We will be limiting discretionary expenditures to only those that are essential for maintaining the academic program, supporting and recruiting students, and maintaining basic business operations.

  • We will be instituting furloughs for employees whose workloads are most disrupted by the dearth of students on campus this fall. There will be two categories of furloughs or work interruptions, and the specified furlough or temporary layoff period will be September 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020, although it may extend longer, depending on what the spring brings. The first category is a “100% furlough," meaning impacted employees will not work or receive salary during the specified period. The other category is a “partial furlough," with the most common variety being a 50% furlough. Under a 50% furlough, for example, the impacted employee would work for two weeks followed by two weeks of furlough, continuing in an alternating fashion during the 4-month period. Additional information about full and partial furloughs can be found in the fall 2020 furlough FAQs.