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The University System of Georgia is reducing their fiscal year 2021 budget due to statewide revenue loss from the coronavirus. (Photo/File)

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents authorized a plan Thursday to include unpaid time off for faculty and staff at all 26 university system institutions for fiscal year 2021.

The plan is not final and must be implemented into a state appropriations bill, passed by the state Legislature and signed by the governor.

All state agencies have been directed to develop new spending plans that include a 14% budget reduction for fiscal year 2021, which begins July 1. USG must reduce its fiscal year 2021 budget by $361 million.

If approved, university system presidents and Chancellor Steve Wrigley would take the largest pay cut for fiscal year 2021 to help fulfill the state’s request to cut expenses by 14% due to the coronavirus, Wrigley said during the meeting.

University presidents and Wrigley could take the maximum of 26 unpaid days during fiscal year 2021, which equates to about a 10% pay reduction, Wrigley said.

The number of furlough days will be determined by salary, Wrigley said.

Wrigley said in the meeting USG institutions have five tiers of salary levels. The highest base salaries would be required to take 16 furlough days during fiscal year 2021, which is a 6.2% pay cut, according to a USG news release. Workers in the lowest base salary range won’t take any unpaid time off, and most employees would take four or eight furlough days.

“This will just be one component of the budget reduction plan that we will submit to the state leadership,” Wrigley said during the meeting.

Layoffs are also a possible way to reduce institution budgets, according to a May 1 email Wrigley sent to USG faculty and staff. The Board of Regents did not mention layoffs during its meeting Thursday.

Wrigley said in the meeting the plans to reduce institution budgets, which are due by May 20, will be unique to each institution.

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