Despite pandemic-related budget challenges, UCLA’s prudent financial management over the last several decades as well as recent institution-wide efforts to cut costs and plan for future fiscal challenges allowed Chancellor Gene Block to make a commitment today that the campus’s career employees will not face COVID-19-related layoffs through the end of the fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2021.
The announcement is a continuation of a previous pledge Block made in August to have no pandemic-related layoffs of career employees through Jan. 15.
In his message to campus, Block thanked members of the UCLA community for their commitment to UCLA and one another during these difficult times.
“I hope that the upcoming holidays provide you with much-needed rest and relaxation, and that this news offers some additional comfort in a challenging year and optimism for a brighter future,” he said.
Among the University of California campuses, UCLA has faced the greatest financial impact, with a revenue shortfall and added COVID-related expense that currently stands at about $725 million.
Cost-saving and job-saving measures that allowed the campus to provide this extended protection to employees include reducing hiring, the previously announced planning for a longer winter curtailment, offering a voluntary separation program for eligible staff, and creating an employee reassignment program.
The reassignment program, which invites certain UCLA employees to take classes and re-train for new duties, allows employees who have less available work due to the pandemic to serve other areas in need. Block cited the example of staff who previously worked in campus dining halls who have learned new skills to support the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center’s COVID-19 surveillance testing program. Meanwhile, other dining staff have been preparing thousands of meals each day for partners like Village for Vets, which serves veterans through the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.
The chancellor said programs like this have allowed UCLA to preserve hundreds of Bruin jobs.
His note to UCLA faculty and staff introduced a systemwide message from University of California President Michael Drake announcing broader plans that will help the UC system confront a host of COVID-19–related financial challenges.
“In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of our collective work and contributions to California’s response to the pandemic — from transforming the way we educate students to providing life-saving patient care and advancing groundbreaking research,” Drake said.
In the closing of his campus message, Block said: “While I do not know what the future holds, UCLA will continue to do whatever it can — with your continued support, resilience and flexibility — to retain as many of our dedicated employees as possible during this very difficult time.”