Buzzfeed To Furlough Over 60 Employees Without Pay Amid Coronavirus

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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Buzzfeed announced in a memo Wednesday that numerous non-news staffers will be furloughed without pay starting May 16.

The decision is an effort to avoid bigger losses because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Buzzfeed is just the latest in a series of media publications to announce changes and cutbacks because of the virus.

“I’ve made the very difficult decision to furlough 68 employees beginning May 16th,” CEO Jonah Peretti wrote in the memo according to The Hill. “In the US, the furlough will last for 3 months. For international markets, timelines may vary due to local regulations and government benefits. During this period, these employees won’t work and won’t be paid.”

Buzzfeed will provide health care to the affected employees, the memo added. Furloughed employees will also “be eligible to collect unemployment and other government assistance.”

“We will pay out all accrued unused vacation days to furloughed US employees with the next payroll which will provide extra cash to most impacted employees,” according to Peretti.

A BuzzFeed News logo adorns a wall inside BuzzFeed headquarters, December 11, 2018 in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A BuzzFeed News logo adorns a wall inside BuzzFeed headquarters, December 11, 2018 in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The furloughed employees were made aware of the decision prior to the memo, according to Peretti. Some American employees will be furloughed until August and the company is taking additional steps to cut costs amid the virus. These include reducing salaries for employees that were not furloughed and possibly ending Buzzfeed’s 401k-matching deal, The Hill reported.

“This is a difficult day for all of us,” Peretti’s memo continued. “We will do everything we can to support our colleagues who are furloughed. The people at BuzzFeed are amazing, you always step up to support each other and share empathy and compassion. We need that spirit more than ever during these tough times and I know we will pull through for each other.”

Buzzfeed’s decision comes in an effort to make sure losses remain “under $20 [million],” The Hill reported, citing the memo. Other companies to make various cutbacks amid the virus reportedly include The NY Post and Vox, among others. (RELATED: Vice Lays Off 10 Percent Of Staff As Digital Media Struggle During Trump Era)

This article has been updated to reflect that Buzzfeed, not Buzzfeed News announced furloughs.