Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the managing company of the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers and National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils, has enforced pay cuts on members of its staff in an attempt to avoid layoffs amid the global Covid-19 pandemic.
At-will employees who make more than $50,000 a year have been asked to take pay cuts of up to 20 per cent, starting April 15 through the end of June. Health and pension benefits will not be affected.
The news was first reported by New York Times reporter Marc Stein.
Executives such as Sixers general manager Elton Brand, Devils president Jake Reynolds, Sixers president Chris Heck, and HBSE chief executive Scott O’Neil have agreed to participate in the program, Stein reported.
Contracted employees, such as coaching staff and front office members, cannot be forced to take a pay cut, but they also have been asked to participate. It is understood all have agreed.
Sixers players are not affected. ESPN has reported that NBA players will be paid full salaries on April 1. But it remains unclear what wages they will receive in their next pay cheque on April 15.
O’Neil said in a statement: “As we navigate this evolving Covid-19 environment, we are mindful of the long-term impact the suspension of live events and games will have on our organization and industry. To ensure we can continue to support and operate our businesses during these uncertain times without reducing our workforce, we are asking our full-time, salaried employees to temporarily reduce their pay by up to 20 percent and move to a four-day week.
“In addition to supporting our people, we are committed to playing an ongoing role in funding efforts to help the most impacted residents in our home cities. In the coming days, we will enter into additional partnerships in Philadelphia, Camden and Newark to assist our neighbors with food and resource distribution during this public health crisis.”
In a similar move, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has decided to indefinitely forgo his salary during the ongoing health crisis. Elsewhere, senior Tour executives have agreed to take to salary cuts, while wages for all other Tour employees will be frozen at 2019 levels.