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New Program Offering

Voluntary Furlough

To address the need for employee flexibility under pandemic, the university has created a voluntary program to provide employees seeking flexibility to manage their work and family obligations through the end of the year. Under this program, employees may request an approved, unpaid absence from work for 2 to 18 weeks between August 25, 2020 and January 9, 2021. Under such circumstances, the employee remains a W&M employee on an approved extended absence, for a specified term.

Criteria and Approvals

Requests will be evaluated based on the university’s work demands, the specific nature of the work, and impact on other staff or services. Approval criteria include: a) whether the position was previously identified as a core function, such as teaching or direct student support; b) the staffing profile of the department; and c) other operational and mission-specific requirements. By August 21st, requests must be submitted to supervisors. Submitted requests must be endorsed by the department head/director and the unit’s Cabinet member. A written agreement will document the approved arrangement.

Pay and Benefits

Voluntary, approved absences generally start and end on regular pay period dates. Most employee benefits will be modified, prorated, or suspended during the absence dependent upon its length, when it starts and ends, and the employee’s classification. The chart below provides an overview of the potential impact on benefits. An exact calculation will be provided after an Approved Voluntary Absence has been granted and forwarded to If approved, the employee will be unpaid during the agreed upon pay periods and cannot use annual leave or work during that time.

Leave Benefits







2-18 weeks

Dependent upon approval

Health Benefits


Full Coverage

Continues; employees pay their normal share

Life Insurance







Retirement credit suspended




Prorated contribution by salary received

Annual Leave



Accruals stop; balances are maintained

Personal Leave



Accruals stop; balances are maintained

Sick Leave



Accruals stop; balances are maintained

Other Flexibility Options

For many employees, an unpaid absence may not be a viable option. If an employee has questions about paid leave options - such as Expanded Family Medical - or a reduction in work hours to help balance work and home responsibilities, please contact for a confidential consultation.