The sports and entertainment group that owns the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils has notified salaried, full-time employees they will be subject to temporary pay cuts of up to 20% and will be moving to a four-day work week as a result of the ongoing fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” said Scott O’Neil, CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, in a statement sent to the employees. “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.”
The pay cuts will begin as soon as next month and will affect full-time employees who make $50,000 or more and will go as high as 20% for those making $70,000 or more, sources told ESPN. The teams are expected to ask contracted front-office employees to take similar cuts, sources said.
News of the pay cuts for the Josh Harris-owned group was first reported by The New York Times.
“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,” O’Neil said in the statement. “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 memo sent to teams Friday, the NBA said it plans to deliver players their full salaries due on April 1. But the league left open the possibility of recouping future salaries for canceled games on April 15, based on the force majeure provision in the collective bargaining agreement.
Force majeure allows for the withholding of 1/92.6 of a player’s seasonal salary per canceled game based upon catastrophic circumstances. The provision encompasses several scenarios, including war, natural disasters and epidemics/pandemics. (For the purposes of force majeure, the league considers each team to have played five preseason games, 82 regular-season games and 5.6 playoff games.)