Governor Polis announces tiered furloughs for state workers

PROMO 64J1 Government - Colorado Capitol Building Flags - iStock - japhillips
Published Tuesday, September 22, 2020
by Derek Draplin | The Center Square

(The Center Square) - Colorado Governor Jared Polis' administration said Tuesday some state employees will be required to take unpaid furloughs.

Polis called the plan a "compassionate furlough model" in a news briefing, referring questions about how much the plan would save to his press office. Polis' press office did not immediately respond to a request regarding how much the state would save under the furlough plan.  

The furloughs are tiered based on salary, with state employees making less than $50,000 not required to take furlough days under the plan. 

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PROMO 64J1 People - Jared Polis Colorado Governor Politician
Jared Polis - elected Governor of Colorado in November 2018.

State employees making between $50,001 and $70,000 must take one furlough day by the end of the fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2021, while those making $70,001 to $90,000 must take two days, and those making between $90,001 to $140,000 taking three days. State employees making over $140,000 are required to take four days under the plan.

Governor Polis that he and his cabinet members will also be subject to the unpaid furlough days.

The furloughs also exempt certain employees like public safety workers and those combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor's office said. Colorado has about 30,000 state employees impacted by the furloughs.

The General Assembly estimated a $3.3 billion budget hit for fiscal year 2020-21 from the economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Colorado is facing one of the most challenging economic crises in our history, and public agencies are facing difficult budget constraints," Polis said in a statement. "Just as the private sector is tightening its belt, so too must the government. This thoughtful furlough plan helps address the state's budget shortfall while ensuring that our lower wage workers are not impacted, and we can continue to deliver high quality critical services for Coloradans. I know this won't be easy, but we're in this together and know that we'll bounce back even stronger than before." 

The administration said most state government offices will be closed November 27, the day after Thanksgiving, as one of the furlough days.

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