At the very same time Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart was on a conference call with reporters April 15, city manager Sadhu Johnston quietly sent a staff memo announcing furloughs of non-union civic staff.
Already 1,800 unionized workers received pink slips as the city grapples with the sudden halt to the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. Stewart wants a $200 million bailout from the provincial government to prevent insolvency.
“In lieu of exempt staff layoffs at this time, I have made the difficult decision to implement a mandatory unpaid furlough for all exempt staff. This furlough will replace the current earned day-off program,” Johnston wrote in the memo, which was obtained by theBreaker.news. “The furlough will be implemented immediately through the imposition of one day of unpaid leave in each two-week pay period. The impact on our gross salary in each pay period will be a reduction of approximately 10%.”
The furlough will last until Dec. 17, but could end sooner if the city’s finances improve.
The city will not adjust salary ranges this year and is planning to defer merit-based pay raises for those employees paid “less than the maximum of the applicable range,” Johnston wrote.
“Those increases will take effect on October 1.”
Johnston, who was paid $362,852 last year, also suggested those interested in voluntarily transitioning to part-time work speak to their manager.
“In very limited circumstances, we will be considering exceptions to the mandatory furlough for exempt employees who are deployed exclusively to the City’s COVID response or other essential services and who cannot be released for an additional day in a given pay period.”
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