REPORT: Vox Will Announce Around 100 Employee Furloughs

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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Vox will reportedly announce around 100 employee furloughs sometime during the week in an attempt to cut costs amid the novel coronavirus crisis, CNBC reported Monday.

The number of furloughed employees could change depending on negotiations with the Writers Guild of America, East, which represents around 350 Vox employees. CNBC cited people familiar with the matter during its report.

The reportedly expected furloughs would be for three months and the employees likely to be affected are those whose areas of coverage have become smaller amid the coronavirus pandemic. Temporary three-month pay cuts for Vox’s higher earners are also reportedly being considered. The company is aiming to make sure its furloughed workers are able to keep their health care plans.

“I’ll state the obvious that the advertising market is experiencing a downturn unlike ever before,” CEO Jim Bankoff wrote in a memo to employees earlier in April. “While at this point I can’t put an exact number on our own decline, I know that –  just like nearly all other companies and publishers – we have already seen a significant impact in March and our business will continue to be deeply affected this quarter, next quarter and likely for the remainder of 2020.”

“It’s important to emphasize that we expect our ad business to rebound eventually, but since the timing cannot be predicted, we need to plan with extra caution,” he continued.

Vox Media is asking readers for financial contributions amid the coronavirus. This “will enable Vox to continue bringing you essential information — for free — at the pace and scale the coronavirus crisis demands,” according to the company.

The company’s non-tax deductible donation request and incoming furloughs come after it raised over $300 million in funds as recently as 2015, according to reports.

Vox also plans to cut travel expenses, put a hold on various expenditures and reduce its freelance work, Bankoff said in his email. The company will also be “scaling back on all in-office perks like snacks and happy hours for the remainder of 2020 regardless of when we are back on-site,” CNBC reported.

Other news websites have been forced to cut costs, as well. Buzzfeed said that its employees would see pay cuts on a sliding scale back in March and Ground Nine announced that it will be laying off 7% of staff.  (RELATED: Media Outlets Are Revisiting And Revising Their Old Reporting On The Coronavirus)