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BuzzFeed to furlough dozens of employees starting later this month

BuzzFeed to furlough dozens of employees starting later this month
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BuzzFeed announced Wednesday that several dozen staffers would be furloughed beginning next week as the company hopes to avert large-scale losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A memo to staffers obtained by The Hill states that 68 staffers in the U.S. and some international markets would be furloughed, beginning May 16, as the company hopes to keep losses "under $20 [million]," according to the letter.

"I’ve made the very difficult decision to furlough 68 employees beginning May 16th. 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," wrote CEO Jonah Peretti.

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"The company will continue to provide health care throughout the furlough, and those affected will 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," he added.

Peretti went on to add that those who would be furloughed had already been notified of the decision, which for U.S. employees will last until August. Other cost-saving measures announced by the company in the memo included salary reductions for employees who weren't furloughed and a potential end to the company's 401k-matching program.

"In difficult times we can’t abandon our values. We are just as committed as ever to quality journalism, which is why we recruited Mark Schoofs to lead our News team. We are just as committed as ever to diversity, inclusion, and our [employee resource groups]," Peretti said.

"This is a difficult day for all of us. 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," he added.

Some media companies have suffered amid the coronavirus outbreak due to declining ad revenue and other hardships brought on by measures meant to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Vox Media previously announced furloughs for about 100 employees in April, while Gannett and the Los Angeles Times have made similar moves as well.

Joe Concha contributed to this report.