UK to furlough 1700 employees


Lauren Campbell

Roughly 1,700 UK employees will be affected by furlough-like steps taken by UK, announced UK president Eli Capilouto in an April 23 email to the campus community.

The employees will be placed on “low operational activity/administrative no-pay status for what we hope is a short period of time,” said Capilouto.

1,500 of the impacted workers are associated with UK HealthCare, said Capilouto, and the rest in campus units like transportation, dining and dentistry clinics.

The furloughs are a part of UK’s strategy for counteracting a $70 million revenue shortfall.

Capilouto said employees were contacted beginning the morning of April 23. 

UK will also be closing the Hilary J. Boone Center, a dining and events facility, which affects the jobs of seven people.

Capilouto predicts there will be more moves to administrative no-pay status for UK employees in the coming weeks in other units where work has already been reduced due to COVID-19.

Capilouto listed these policies under the administrative no-pay plan:

– Employees may elect to use accrued vacation, holiday or bonus leave, after April 25.

– Once their time off is exhausted, they will be eligible to apply for unemployment.

– Employees who are on administrative no-pay status for a full-pay period, UK/UKHC will pay both the employer and employee portion of health benefits premiums for up to 90 days or until the employee returns to work, and during this time, the employee’s sick and vacation time will continue to accumulate.

– UK and/or UK HealthCare officials will look for areas of work to bring employees back as soon as possible.

Some UK employees could be on low operational activity/administrative no-pay status for only a few days, while others could be on it for several weeks.

“Whether in health care or on campus, there are a number of units where work has been slowed significantly or has practically ground to a halt. And, in many places, remote work options aren’t feasible,” said Capilouto.

With approximately 12,000 employees, UK is one of the largest employers in Fayette County and Kentucky. UK Healthcare had already announced redeployment to key areas in preparation for a surge in COVID-19 cases.

UK HealthCare has invested “some $20 million” in COVID-related expenses like drive-through testing capacity and a robust tele-health option for patients, said Capilouto. But due to the suspension of elective procedures, there has been a 45 percent decrease in outpatient volumes and a 34 percent decrease in in-patient visits since April.

UK hopes to “employ what we hope are short-term strategies that will have the long-term benefit of preserving jobs and giving us budgetary flexibility,” said Capilouto.

To find out more about this plan and the budget issues UK is facing during this time, visit