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Policy would make furloughs easier to invoke

The Arizona Board of Regents is looking to create a permanent furlough policy in the state university system to save time if universities need to implement furloughs in the future.

The current budget crisis forced the board to authorize furloughs for a limited time at its special meeting in January.

At that time, the board had no previous policy for implementing furloughs, ABOR spokeswoman Andrea Smiley said, and the new policy, if approved, will give the university presidents more tools to do so.

“The impetus was the budget crisis that we’re in,” Smiley said.

The special ABOR meeting in January, in which all three universities asked regents to approve furloughs to cut costs, covered all steps necessary for the board to grant permission to require employees to take unpaid time off.

In addition to creating a temporary furlough policy, the board also had to review and grant exceptions to five policies, each covering conditions of employment or paid holidays within the university system.

The new proposal could streamline that process by outlining the steps taken to request furloughs.

According to the proposal, a university president or ABOR executive director would have to submit a furlough plan to the board’s Human Resources Committee, which may then choose to approve the request.

Regents will vote on the furlough proposal Thursday during their meeting at UA, in addition to tuition surcharges proposed by all three state universities.

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