Category: Messages to the Community

Title: Follow-Up to President DeGioia’s Message

Dear Colleagues:

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the university. I am deeply grateful to you and to our entire campus community.

As you may have seen in President DeGioia’s message yesterday, the university is taking several actions to address the serious financial concerns related to the evolving challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. These decisions were not taken lightly, nor have they been easy ones to make. The steps announced yesterday are not the university’s first in response to our economic challenges. We have already achieved more than $2 million dollars in salary reductions from more than 50 senior leaders including President DeGioia and myself, imposed a hiring and salary freeze for this year and limited all non-essential spending.

The university is now moving forward with additional actions:

  • There will be no merit increase for the next fiscal year for faculty, staff and AAPs.
  • The university will temporarily halt contributions to the 403(b) accounts of faculty, staff and AAPs for the next fiscal year—although this decision will be revisited during the course of the year in light of the university’s financial situation.
  • The university has cancelled non-essential capital expenditures.

These are significant steps, and painful decisions for all of us.

President DeGioia also outlined two voluntary initiatives that people can participate in that will help the university financially at this difficult time: a voluntary furlough or a voluntary salary reduction.

Voluntary Furlough Program
Georgetown is implementing a voluntary furlough program based on ability to perform available work, as outlined in the Voluntary Furlough Guidelines. This includes both positions for which there is an inability to work and positions for which there has been a reduction in the amount of available work. A furlough is a temporary unpaid leave, during which affected individuals remain Georgetown employees.

Staff and AAP employees, including both hourly and exempt employees, are eligible to apply to participate in the Voluntary Furlough Program. Upon approval of senior leadership, this program affords employees the opportunity to take an unpaid leave of absence while retaining benefits. Participation is completely voluntary. Details of the program are below:

  • The furlough will go into effect Monday, May 25, 2020, and conclude on Sunday, July 26, 2020.
  • Furloughed employees will return to work on Monday, July 27, 2020.
  • All furloughed employees will retain their current medical, dental and vision insurance. Georgetown will pay both the employer and employee portions of these insurance premiums during the furlough period.
  • Tuition Assistance Program benefits and paid leave accruals, if applicable, will continue while employees are temporarily furloughed.
  • Affected employees may file for state unemployment compensation benefits and federal support immediately.
  • Upon an employee’s return to work, the university will consider efforts to mitigate economic impacts this furlough may have caused.
  • Additional resources, including FAQs, can be found on the Human Resources (HR) website.

Informational webinars will be hosted via Zoom on Thursday, May 14 and Friday, May 15, 2020, at 10 a.m and 2 p.m. Representatives from the Department of Human Resources and Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits will discuss the Voluntary Furlough Program and upcoming changes to the university contribution toward the 403(b) retirement plan, and participants will have opportunities to ask questions.

Interested staff and AAPs as well as 12-month faculty at the Medical and Law Center should apply using this form by 5 p.m., Monday, May 18. Applications will be reviewed by HR and managers, and applicants will be notified in writing as to whether their furlough application has been approved or denied by Friday, May 22.

Voluntary Salary Reduction
In addition to this furlough program, we will offer a Voluntary Temporary Salary Reduction Program for all faculty, staff and AAPs who wish to participate.

A voluntary cut in salary will help put the institution in the strongest position to protect our academic and research mission. This program will:

  • allow any employee to designate a reduction amount or percentage in their annual salary;
  • maintain all benefits for participating employees;
  • run through the date of the employee’s choosing, anytime until June 30, 2021; and
  • be done in a confidential manner so that managers, supervisors and academic deans are not aware of employees’ decisions to participate.

We hope that voluntary savings will allow the university to support and maintain funds to assist with:

Interested faculty, staff and AAPs should apply using the appropriate form on the HR website. General questions can also be directed to the HR, Benefits and Payroll help line at 202-687-2500.

We hope that significant savings through voluntary actions may help the university protect as many jobs as we can for as long as we can and minimize or avoid future employment actions, such as mandatory furloughs, salary reductions and/or layoffs. We recognize that people have different work obligations and financial needs. Not everyone will be able to participate in these programs, but I hope you can contribute in other ways in the months ahead. For more information about how you can help, please refer to the “How to Help” section of our COVID-19 website, which outlines ways the community can lend support.

This is a critical time for the community to come together. I want to express my gratitude to all of you for your willingness to adjust quickly to the demands we face. We are humbled by your dedication to the university, and your many outstanding contributions. Thank you.


Geoff Chatas
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer