6,000 MultiCare employees required to take 17-shift furloughs

MultiCare Health System plans to implement mandatory 17-shift furloughs for 6,000 employees to help offset losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tacoma, Wash.-based organization said May 6. 

The furloughs, which will start next week and last through January, will mainly affect non-clinical employees. Affected employees will be able to retain healthcare benefits and have the option to use paid time off for the shifts to minimize the financial hit.

MultiCare said the 17-shift duration was determined because it's the equivalent of one shift per pay period for the remainder of the year.

The health system said that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to $160 million in financial losses. 

MultiCare said it hopes the 17-shift furloughs will allow it to avoid "widespread layoffs throughout the system."

"The goal of these difficult decisions is to ensure that we can return to a solid fiscal position," said Bill Robertson, president and CEO of MultiCare. "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."

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