Governor delays furloughs until ‘at least July 1’

He says the pandemic relief bill provides funding to postpone cuts

Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday afternoon he will delay furloughs for state employees to July 1. The Hawaii State Department of Education confirmed to HSTA that the furlough delay applies to HIDOE employees.

“This is great news for our keiki, our teachers and for Hawaii’s economy. This school year has been difficult enough without the additional burden of furloughs. HSTA appreciates Gov. Ige’s decision to delay furloughs for this school year, and we will work with our state leaders to find solutions to avoid further cuts next school year,” said HSTA President Corey Rosenlee.

Ige sent a memo to executive branch employees that said, “After an initial review of the new, $900 billion federal COVID-19 relief bill, we found it provides enough direct support to programs in Hawaiʻi that I am able to delay furloughs for executive branch employees until at least July 1, 2021.” Education falls under the state of Hawaii’s executive branch.

This means the two scheduled furlough days and additional “proposed” furlough days through June 30, 2021 that were originally announced by the HIDOE will not happen. Last week, after Congress approved the stimulus measure, HIDOE informed employees that “the scheduled Jan. 4 furlough day will no longer be implemented. We are pleased that teachers will get a dedicated workday back on Jan. 4 to prepare for the second semester.” The Feb. 12 date will also be reverted to a regular workday for employees, and a contracted Teacher Institute Day for Kauai Chapter members.

President Donald Trump approved the relief bill Sunday, triggering $178 million in aid for Hawaii public schools, as well as pandemic relief checks and an extension of unemployment benefits.

On Monday, HSTA live-streamed a briefing and Q&A session for members on Facebook and YouTube to clarify what we know, share what we are still seeking answers to, and gather any additional questions members may have about the furlough threat. You can watch the full briefing here with a summary of the discussion and time stamps for specific questions that were answered by Rosenlee and Deputy Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Andrea Eshelman. Please note that the information shared does not reflect today’s furlough delay announcement.

The situation remains fluid and HSTA is committed to fighting any furlough threat. We will continue to update you as developments occur.

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