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MultiCare Announces Furloughs for 6,000 Employees to Support Return to Financial Health

MultiCare Health System announced Wednesday a group of 6,000 mainly non-clinical employees will be expected to take 17-shift furloughs between May 10, 2020, and Jan. 2, 2021 to support the organization’s viability and financial health in the near and long term.

MultiCare, like other health systems, has taken steps over the past few weeks to help protect the organization’s long-term health and capacity to fulfill its mission amid $160 million financial losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the steps already announced include implementing executive compensation reduction, deferring hiring for some roles, introducing a voluntary furlough program for employees and re-evaluating open positions.

MultiCare has chosen to implement these essential furloughs beginning next week in the hope to avoid widespread layoffs throughout the system. Some of the key takeaways of this essential furlough include:

  • 6,000 employees will be furloughed for 17 shifts between May 10, 2020, and Jan. 2, 2021 — the equivalent of one shift per pay period for the remainder of the year. Shift expectation will be pro-rated by FTE and shift length.
    • The six MultiCare holidays that fall within that period can count toward the 17 shifts.
  • Non-Exempt (Hourly) employees can choose between utilizing PTO (if available) or taking unpaid time for their 17 shifts.
  • Exempt (salaried) employees can choose between utilizing PTO (if available) or taking unpaid time, depending on if an employee chooses to take their furlough days in increments of single shifts or full work weeks.
  • Furloughed employees will still receive their basic health benefits, but will continue to be responsible for any required health plan contributions and dental coverage premiums.

“The goal of these difficult decisions is to ensure that we can return to a solid fiscal position,” says Bill Robertson, President and CEO of MultiCare. “So that we may continue in our mission of partnering for healing and a healthy future — and remain the long-term health care partner the communities we serve require us to be.”

“At all points of decision,” he continues, “We are striving to find solutions that balance stewardship and kindness as we seek ways to recover our operating losses while preserving positions across the organization. It is why we are allowing employees to utilize accrued PTO under these furloughs as we’re hoping to minimize the financial impact to employees.”

The above is a press release from MultiCare Health Systems.  The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents and encourages our readers to personally verify any information they find may be overly biased or questionable.

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