Skip to content Skip to navigation
See our Campus Ready site for most up to date information about the fall semester.Campus ReadyCOVID Help

COVID and Financial Responsibility

UCM aerial

Though the overall need to reduce and monitor expenses remains crucial as UC Merced navigates the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz has decided not to implement a salary and time reduction program within the 2020-21 fiscal year.

In a Dec. 14 message to campus , the Chancellor emphasized that the university’ revenue sources do not align with expenditures. While this requires a much broader financial strategy and better budgeting practices, salary and time savings always should be a last resort, Muñoz said.

If the university is not successful in reaching cost-reduction goals by the end of spring semester, leadership will revisit the salary and time reduction model selected via survey by the campus community. The fiscal year ends June 30, 2021

Financial Responsibility Survey

The survey, released following a Financial Responsibility town hall on Dec. 4, presented three possible models for salary and time reduction. There are 671 responses, and 54% supported Model 3 , which offers the largest protection for lower-income earners.

Steps Taken So Far

Interim Chief Financial Officer Kurt Schnier, in a Dec. 14 message to campus , noted that the university has held vacant positions, critically evaluated the renewal of contracts, reviewed high-level expenditures, and developed budget reduction targets of 5% for the current fiscal year to address a structural deficit of approximately $33 million, a result of prior financial decisions, as well as an estimated $58 million loss in auxiliary revenues resulting from the pandemic.

Schnier noted that the 5% target is not commensurate with the cost savings the university needs to alleviate a structural deficit and support the future debt burden. Continuing efforts to reduce expenditures will be needed.

Financial Responsibility Communications

Questions and Answers

Some answers to the many questions asked at the Financial Responsibility Town Hall on Dec. 4.

Salaries and Benefits

Will there be a pre-retirement program? 

Yes, we will offer a Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) for specific categories of policy-covered career staff. Details will be shared soon with the campus community.   VSP is not available for academic personnel. 

Will employees continue to receive an annual salary merit? 

Annual salary merits for staff currently reviewed and considered for approval systemwide directly by the Office of the President near the end of each fiscal year; merit pay funding was not approved by UCOP FY19-20; we do not yet know if merit funding will be provided in FY20-21 

The academic personnel merit/promotion review process will continue uninterrupted. We do not yet know if funding will be provided for a July 1, 2021 range adjustment.  

For represented staff and academic personnel, any modifications to contractual salary increases are subject to bargaining.

UCLA’s holiday curtailment will be Dec.19-Jan.4, yet ours seems shorter than previous years. Why? 

The number of winter break curtailment days at each UC campus is pre-approved by UCOP. UC Merced is in alignment with several campuses that have three curtailment days over the winter break. Since our local salary/time reduction program will not begin until February, staff may use vacation leave balances to cover the three curtailment days over winter break.

At another institution, we were asked to also take extra vacation days to reduce vacation accrued on the financial statement. Will our employees be asked to do the same or cash out days for tax savings?

No, UC Merced employees will not be asked to take additional vacation days to reduce vacation leave balances.

Is unused vacation time part of the projected deficit?  

No, unused vacation time is not included in our financial deficit.

Retirement | For people in Temporary Total Disability, will they get a reduction on their sick leave monthly usage?

Sick leave accrual balances and usages will be unaffected in this program.

Will employees be asked to take or cash out vacation days to reduce unused days on the books?

No, UC Merced employees will not be asked to take additional vacation days to reduce vacation leave balances. Unused vacation time is not included in our financial deficit.

For academic-year professors, the program would be implemented as an equivalent reduction in salary (based on the salary tiers established under the program) but would not result in additional paid or unpaid time off. For all academic appointees, the salary reduction will be applied to the scale-based salary, any off-scale, and above scale salaries.  

If staff are being asked to hold vacancies for a longer period of time, but current staff is taking additional roles and responsibilities, will stipends be provided to current staff?  

Faculty do not receive stipends for additional duties like staff employees. Faculty stipends were not frozen as faculty stipends are only assigned for administrative appointment to specific titles (e.g., department chairs).

Those who are represented received a pay increase due to their contract whereas others did not receive an increase. How is that addressed? 

For represented staff and academic personnel, any modification to contractual salary increases is subject to bargaining.

For faculty with 9 month appointments, do these models consider 9 month salary or they also include their summer salary?

Summer salary does not affect the salary band. Any salary reduction will be applied to the academic-year scaled-based salary, any off-scale, or any above scale salaries. 

Summer salary limits for 2021 will be based on the academic appointee’s annual salary rate. The temporary salary reduction to the academic-year salary does not change the annual salary rate upon which summer salary limits are determined.  

When you say merit raises are paused, does that include raises for faculty moving up rank/step?

For academic-year professors, the program would be implemented as an equivalent reduction in salary (based on the salary tiers established under the program) but would not result in additional paid or unpaid time off. For all academic appointees, the salary reduction will be applied to the scale-based salary, any off-scale, and above scale salaries. 

The academic personnel merit/promotion review process will continue uninterrupted. We do not yet know if funding will be provided for a July 1, 2021 range adjustment 

If we are permitted to offset our reduced pay with grants, this will push forward indirect cost capture to the university?. Has your model considered the increase in revenues from filling gaps with salary?

This is still under consideration for system-wide implementation.