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Nationals’ plans for full-time employees: Partial furloughs, no virus-related layoffs

Fans cheer ahead of Game 5 of last year's World Series at Nationals Park. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
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The Washington Nationals’ full-time employees received clarity on their contracts Tuesday, when ownership detailed partial furloughs for those on the baseball operations and business staffs. The plan is designed to avoid layoffs for novel coronavirus-related reasons. The partial furloughs, including a reduction in hours and pay for all employees, will run through the end of each individual’s annual contract, whether baseball resumes this summer or there is no season at all.

For baseball operations employees, annual contracts finish at the end of October. For business-side employees, they finish at the end of the year. The pay cuts will be between 10 and 30 percent, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, and will be tiered based on salary. The highest-paid employees will take the biggest cuts, the lowest-paid employees will take the smallest, and so on.

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These decisions come as Major League Baseball’s 30 teams grapple with how to play employees without their typical revenue streams. It has been two months since MLB shut down amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, and most clubs, including the Nationals, were working on a month-to-month basis. The Nationals announced April 23 that full-time employees would receive full pay and benefits through May 31. There was uneasiness as to what would happen in June, let alone the rest of the year, but those concerns were addressed with five days to spare.

Benefits, such as medical and retirement, will remain intact for the rest of each employee’s current contract. The Los Angeles Dodgers are taking a similar approach, according to reports, and will have every employee making at least $75,000 take a pay cut of up to 35 percent. The Los Angeles Angels, on the other hand, will start furloughs for “non-playing” employees June 1, which reportedly will affect all departments in the organization.

“All considered, I’ll [expletive] take it,” texted a Nationals employee who had been stressed about what he would make for the rest of the season. “It’s nice to know that our jobs are safe.”

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