Vox to furlough 100 employees, in attempt to avoid layoffs: report
Vox Media is reportedly set to furlough around 100 employees this week to prevent further layoffs within the company due to financial concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak.
According to people familiar with the matter, executives with the company are settling on deals with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), which represents around 350 workers at Vox, according to CNBC.
WGAE represents only a portion of Vox’s 1,200 employees, with reports that the company does not want to form separate agreements with one guild division versus the rest of its employees.
The report added that the number of employees furloughed could be higher or lower depending on how the negotiations go, with an announcement coming later this week, according to people represented by the guild who requested to remain anonymous.
The discussed furloughs would extend for up to three months and are focusing on employees whose coverage areas have declined during coronavirus quarantines, according to the sources.
Vox would extend health care coverage for furloughed employees, according to one of the sources.
The Hill reached out to Vox for further details on this matter but has not immediately heard back.
Vox has entered troubling times along with many other media companies, as ad revenue has declined significantly because of the coronavirus and quarantine measures.
In an email to company employees obtained by CNBC, CEO Jim Bankoff said Vox’s previously set goal to become cash flow positive in 2020 was no longer a viable option.
“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,” he said.
Bankoff added, “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.”
Other media companies such as Group Nine Media and BuzzFeed have undergone recent cuts, with about 7 percent of Group Nine Media employees laid off last week.
BuzzFeed said in March that employees’ paychecks would be cut on a sliding scale based on annual salary amounts.