BuzzFeed furloughs 68 employees and extends pay cuts

by Simon Cohen
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BuzzFeed plans to furlough 68 workers as part of broader cost-cutting measures, according to a memo shared by Variety from the CEO of BuzzFeed, Jonah Peretti. Jonah said that the furloughs would affect BuzzFeed’s administration teams, studios, and businesses. 

From the look of things, the furloughs do not include BuzzFeed News yet. However, Jonah wrote, “We will begin a negotiation with the News Guild about the need to reduce cost in News.” Those efforts meant to minimize losses “will no longer be possible without further cuts similar to what we’re doing across other parts of the company.”

The furloughs are expected to start on May 15, 2020, and extend for the next three months. Over the three months, the employees will not be paid. However, their health coverage will continue.

Earlier, Perretti wrote that salary cuts would continue throughout the year. (Perretti himself will not be receiving any payment during this period). Other measures to cut costs include subleasing BuzzFeed’s offices in Minneapolis and Washington D.C., plus closing out over 50 open positions in tech and content. 

These actions are a part of a broader wave of cutbacks at media organizations, both digital and traditional, as a result of the COVID pandemic, which has led to a decline in advertising. So far, Vox and BuzzFeed have used furloughs and pay cuts to cut costs while avoiding having to lay off their employees permanently.

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“In difficult times, we can’t abandon our values,” Jonah Peretti wrote. “We are just as committed as ever to diversity, inclusion, and employee resource groups. It is important to share these furloughs do not have an adverse impact on employees based on race or gender. We are just as committed as ever to the important work we do to serve our audience.”

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