By Ben Peters
Athens NEWS Associate Editor
Ohio University President Duane Nellis announced Thursday that the institution would refund employees wages they lost while furloughed this past year amid budgetary constraints, the severity of which was heightened by the pandemic.
The vast majority of university employees had their salaries reduced for the duration of the nine-month furlough that ended in March. The severity of furlough was contingent on an employee’s salary, with most losing between 3.8 to 6.9 percent of their annual wages that will be recouped.
Employees can expect to receive their wage repayments later this month, according to a message Nellis shared with faculty and staff.
Employees with an annual salary less than $38,000 or at the minimum of their pay grade were exempt from salary reductions.
Also exempt from furlough were student employees, graduate teaching and research assistants and associates, postdoctoral scholars who serve under the conditions of postdoctoral service, anyone on an H-1B visa, and employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, university spokesperson Carly Leatherwood said.
Nellis said in the letter that federal stimulus funding shifted the university’s financial fortunes, allotting it an operational surplus to provide the repayments. The remainder of the surplus will be placed in reserves to help offset a budget deficit in the upcoming fiscal year and to fund “innovations” that Nellis said will help restore financial stability to the intuition. The letter mentioned no specifics.
“This year has been difficult for all of us, and I’m thrilled to share this good news in one of my final messages to you as your President,” Nellis, who will relinquish power to incoming President Hugh Sherman on Monday, said. His final day in office is June 30.
Sherman, according to Nellis, was “closely involved” in the decision to refund wages lost due to furlough. In the letter, Nellis praised Sherman and reiterated the confidence he has in the incoming president’s ability to right the ship.