As of May 28, 2020 – may be amended as necessary 

Fiscal Impact on Employees
President Byerly’s May 28 Message  |  FAQ: Compensation Reductions  |
FAQ: Retirement Contribution Suspension

When COVID-19 forced us to close campus in mid-March, we continued to pay colleagues even when they could not fulfill their job responsibilities from a remote location, in the hope that we would soon be able to return to somewhat normal campus operations. We no longer can do so, as health and safety concerns and governmental mandates continue to significantly reduce activity on campus.

Approximately 40 people will be furloughed between June 8 through July 31. These furloughs are timed to coincide with slower work demands during this period as well as maximizing the unemployment benefits available from the state and federal governments. The federal supplemental unemployment support of $600 per week currently extends through July 25.

Employees subject to the furlough are being notified directly by their supervisors. Furloughed employees will retain their benefits, including the College’s contributions to their health coverage.

Furloughs FAQ

What is the difference between a furlough and a layoff?

Under a furlough, employees remain employed but are assigned a fixed period of unpaid time during which they do not work. Furloughed employees are expected to be recalled to work or to be restored from a reduced work schedule. In contrast, layoffs are a break in employment without benefit continuation or an expectation of a return to work at a specific date in the future.

How were employees selected to be furloughed?

Employees whose responsibilities can no longer be performed in a remote work environment or whose area of work is slower during the summer months were selected for furloughs.

Can employees volunteer to take a furlough during the period of June 8 through July 31?

Yes. Employees interested in a voluntary furlough should discuss this with their supervisor. There may be instances, based on the nature of the work and timing, where the College will not be able to grant a voluntary furlough that is requested by an employee.

Are furloughed employees eligible for unemployment benefits?

Individual eligibility is determined by the state, but, in general, furloughed employees are eligible for both basic state unemployment and the federal enhanced unemployment compensation because the furloughs are directly related to the impact of COVID-19.

Where should I apply for unemployment compensation (UC) benefits?

If you are claiming for work you performed in Pennsylvania you apply to Pennsylvania. If most of your work was performed in another state you apply in that state.

How do I apply for Pennsylvania unemployment benefits?

The fastest and easiest way is to go to the Pennsylvania unemployment compensation website. You may also call the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s toll-free numbers: 888-313-7284 or 888-334-4046 (TTY). You may apply in the first week that employment stops or your work hours are reduced.

Where can I find additional information about filing an unemployment claim in Pennsylvania?

What information will I need to file a claim?

You will need to provide your full legal name, your Social Security number, and, if not a citizen or resident of the United States, authorization to work in the United States.

What if Pennsylvania denies my application for unemployment benefits?

You may appeal the state’s decision under certain circumstances.

Are unemployment compensation payments taxed?

Unemployment compensation benefits are not taxed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and local governments. They are taxed by the federal government. You may choose to have federal income tax withheld from your UC benefit payments at the rate of 10 percent of your weekly benefit rate plus the allowance for dependents (if any).

If I have a question about the unemployment process, who should I call?

You can call Lisa Rex in the Human Resources Office, at 610-330-5814, or email her at

Can I use vacation days to continue receiving my salary while furloughed?


Will I continue to accrue vacation time/seniority if I am furloughed?

You will maintain your seniority, but vacation time is based on hours/weeks worked. You will not accrue vacation time while on furlough.

Will my medical coverage or other benefits change?

No. All of your benefits, including health insurance, continue during a furlough, and the College will continue to make its premium contributions to your health coverage. Your contributions towards your benefits will be deferred during any furlough period. Your deferred contributions will be collected in equal payments from the first four pay periods after you return to work.

Will I lose my tuition benefits during a furlough?

No. Tuition benefits are continuing for furloughed employees.

Will the College continue to contribute to my retirement plan during a furlough?

No. Retirement contributions are based on your pay and if you are not being paid, the College does not contribute to your retirement plan.

Can I still register and take classes through LVAIC or Lafayette as part of the part-time tuition remission program for summer and fall if I am furloughed?

Yes, as long as all other eligibility criteria are met. You should complete a registration form (found on Human Resources’ forms and resources webpage) for either program and send it to

Can I work at Lafayette during a furlough?

No. Hourly employees must be paid for all hours worked. Since you are not paid during a furlough, you cannot work. Salaried employees are also not allowed to work during a furlough period.

If I am furloughed, who will communicate with me about returning to work?

Your direct supervisor is your point of contact for information specific to you and your job. You will also likely receive general information from the College.

Can I maintain my Lafayette email address if I am furloughed and, if so, am I permitted to communicate with colleagues through this email?

You can maintain your Lafayette email address but you are not permitted to access your Lafayette email for work purposes on days that you are furloughed.

If I am furloughed, may I seek other employment outside of Lafayette College?

Yes, as long as the part-time or full-time position you accept does not present a conflict of interest relative to your Lafayette position. However, the hours you work must be reported to the unemployment office and could impact your unemployment benefits. 

If I have a change of life event and need to move to College health insurance, will this be possible if furloughed?

Yes. Please contact Cristie Lazart via email at and access this form on the Human Resources website.

Do I risk being laid off and losing my job if the furlough continues beyond July 31?

At this time, the College does not have plans to implement layoffs or staffing reductions. It is, however, impossible to guarantee that layoffs will not occur in the coming year.

If I have additional questions regarding furloughs, salary reductions or the changes to the College’s retirement plan, who should I contact?

You can find information on the Human Resources website, call the Human Resources Office at 610-330-5060 or email us at