Furloughed workers can borrow their lost wages -- with interest


The University of California-San Francisco has come up with a creative way to hose its employees who have taken pay cuts and furloughs -- loan them their lost wages and charge interest upon repayment.

The "Special Temporary Furlough Employee Emergency Loan Program," which started Oct. 1, is being implemented with the intent of helping workers in an emergency situation.

But charging interest, currently at 3.66%, to borrow lost wages seems evil.

A story in The Public Press reports that the UCSF emergency loan fund isn't for paying rent or any bills that aren't "an unplanned emergency situation." Examples of emergency loans that qualify include a car breaking down unexpectedly, death or terminal illness of an immediate family member, paying a security deposit for an apartment after a divorce, domestic violence, sudden eviction or emergency non-elective surgery.

Not being able to afford to feed your family because your employer cut your wages and is a loan shark doesn't qualify as an emergency.

Along with paying interest on money they should have received in salary anyway, university employees are limited to taking a loan of up to the amount they saw their pay cut. Pay cuts ranged from 4% to 10% based on the 11 to 26 unpaid days that faculty and staff must take in the next year, with the first cuts seen in their Oct. 1 paychecks.

At least they get a fair amount of time to pay off the advance. Loan payments are deducted from monthly paychecks over 24 months, plus interest. The current 3.66% interest rate will change in November, although UCSF officials haven't said if it will go up or down.

The temporary programs ends Aug. 31, 2010, which should hopefully give UCSF employees enough time to look for new jobs.