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What to do when you’re

Taking a furlough

If you’re a partial-year career employee, and you have not elected to have your pay spread over 12 months, your work year includes a regularly scheduled period of time off. During these furlough periods — up to three months per calendar year — you won’t receive your regular paycheck but you may continue some UC benefits. 

Here’s what to do before, during and after a furlough.

Talk with your supervisor, department chair and/or your benefits representative.

Discuss with them any questions you have about when your furlough starts or how long it lasts.

Make sure your benefits are in order.

Contact your benefits representative to discuss your options for continuing your benefits and whether your costs will change. In some cases, you may become responsible for your portion and UC’s portion of your benefit premiums. If you choose to continue the benefits you are eligible for, you will receive monthly benefits billing invoices to pay the premiums.

Your representative can help if you choose to continue Health FSA coverage through COBRA.

To cancel your benefits during your furlough, you’ll need to submit an election form required by (and available from) UCPath.  If you are unable to access your UCPath account, you can contact UCPath by phone (855-982-7284, M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) or email (ucpath@universityofcalifornia.edu). For any benefits that you cancel, or if payment is not submitted on time for your benefits billing invoices, your benefits coverage will end after the last fully paid month.

Here’s how to handle specific benefits in preparation for going on furlough.

Medical, dental, vision, legal, voluntary disability, life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance

After you’ve discussed your options and costs, you can decide which benefits you’d like to continue during your furlough. In some circumstances, UC will continue its contributions to medical, dental and vision premiums during a furlough period of up to three months. Since this varies somewhat depending on the circumstances, make sure to confirm the details with your leave administrator.

If your medical or dental plan is an HMO and you plan to be away from your plan’s service area for more than two months, contact your benefits representative about transferring to a different plan. The procedure for enrolling or de-enrolling a family member in plans is unchanged while you’re on furlough.

If you’re enrolled in the UC Health Savings Plan and contributing to your health savings account (HSA), you have two options for continuing contributions during your furlough: 1) Continue payroll deductions, provided you continue to receive pay during your furlough, or 2) Send your contributions directly to Health Equity via check or electronic fund transfer. You may also cancel or change your contribution amount by submitting the HSA, Life Insurance, Voluntary Disability and AD&D Change FormPDF to UCPath. Remember, it is your responsibility to monitor your HSA contributions to ensure they do not exceed the IRS annual maximum.

Basic Life and Basic Disability

Your coverage continues at no cost to you during your furlough. You won’t receive disability benefits while on furlough, but if you were to become disabled on furlough, you can receive benefits after your scheduled return date if unable to work then.

DepCare and Health Flexible Spending Accounts

Your contributions and coverage stop when you go off pay status unless you continue participation in the health FSA through COBRA. You can be reimbursed for eligible expenses you incur through the end of the pay period in which you made your last contribution as long as you submit the expenses by the filing deadline for the year you incurred the expenses. If you miss the deadline you’ll forfeit any money left in the accounts.

Tax Savings on Insurance Premiums

Contributions stop when you go off pay status. If you continue medical coverage, you’ll pay premiums on an after-tax basis.

UCRP Contributions

Your contributions stop when you go off pay status. If you’re a partial-year career employee working full-time during a 9-, 10- or 11-month appointment, you’ll receive one year of service credit for each year of plan participation. If you’re a partial-year career employee working part-time, your service credit will be pro-rated. If you have a UCRP service credit purchase in progress, payments for the purchase will stop.

Contributions to your DC, 403(b) and 457(b) plans

Contributions stop with your last paycheck. In some cases, you may be able to take a distribution from your 403(b) or 457(b) plan. You may take a distribution from your DC Plan After-tax rollover account at any time. Contact Fidelity for information. If you have an outstanding 403(b) loan, you’ll need to contact Fidelity to arrange to make payments during your furlough. You may make monthly payments, pay the amount you’ll owe for the full furlough, or repay the total amount.

Auto/Homeowner/Renter’s insurance

You may continue coverage to the end of the contract year by paying premiums directly to the insurer. Contact your carrier directly to make the needed arrangements.

California Unemployment Insurance

If you’re on furlough between academic terms with reasonable assurance that you’ll be rehired, you’re generally not eligible.

When you return, contact your benefits representative to review and restart your benefits.

  • If you continued coverage, it continues automatically. If you re-enroll in the DepCare or Health FSA plans, your annual contributions will be the same as before your furlough. Please note that your deductions will increase during the remaining months of the year if you missed contributions during your furlough period. If you re-enroll in a new plan year, you can change your contribution amount.
  • If you didn’t continue coverage, you may sign up within 31 days for the same plans and the same coverage you were enrolled in before your furlough. After that, you’ll have to wait until the next Open Enrollment. For some plans, if you sign up later you’ll have to submit a statement of health and your application may not be accepted. For AD&D, you may enroll at any time.
  • You may opt out of the TIP plan during the first 31 days after your return.
  • If you transferred to a different medical or dental plan, make sure you transfer back within 31 days of your return.
  • If you continued auto/homeowner/renter’s insurance tell your payroll representative to resume your deductions. If you canceled coverage, contact the insurance company anytime to restart it.
  • If you have a previous UCRP service credit purchase underway or an outstanding 403(b) loan, tell your payroll representative to resume your payroll deductions. For the service credit purchase, your payment period will be extended and your deduction amount won’t change. 

Review your first direct deposit statement or pay stub carefully.

It’s your responsibility to let your benefits or payroll representative know about any mistakes.

If you end UC employment while on furlough, take steps to transition smoothly.

If you want to continue benefits coverage through COBRA (for medical, dental, vision or health FSA) or by converting to an individual policy (for medical, legal, life or AD&D), your benefits representative can assist you. You can also check out Leaving UC employment.

If you decide to retire, contact the Retirement Administration Service Center. You should do so before you elect to retire, since a furlough may affect your retirement benefits. You’ll find all the additional information you need on Preparing for retirement.