Portland State University announced Friday that 106 employees are being transitioned to leave without pay status in response to sharply reduced campus operations from the impact of COVID-19.
Affected employees received a two-week notice, will be eligible for expanded state unemployment benefits and will retain their PSU-provided health care benefits.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce PSU is making temporary workforce reductions,” said PSU Interim President Stephen Percy. “It is our sincere hope that these reductions are short-lived and the employees are able to return to their regular work no later than September 27. We are developing scenarios for the safe reopening of our campus. I thank each of these employees for their dedicated service.”
The affected employees, who are unable to complete their assigned duties in a work-from-home setting, represent departments with curtailed operations and will begin their leave without pay on May 16. Positions will be reinstated as possible when campus operations resume.
The coronavirus pandemic is exacting a toll on individuals and institutions across Oregon and around the world. PSU will lose more than $13 million as a result of the actions taken to combat COVID-19. PSU, like other Oregon public universities, is also bracing for additional cuts as state-level revenue losses reduce state funding.
“The reductions in on-campus services are now expected to continue through the summer. Revenue losses due to the shift in operations exceed $13 million in units that are traditionally self-supporting,” Percy said.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, PSU had taken steps to address budget concerns due to a decline in enrollment. Departments have tightened budgets, and a campus-wide hiring freeze has been in place since earlier this year.
COVID-19 has added further strain to the budget. As a result, executive level pay cuts began this week, with Percy taking a 15% pay reduction and other senior executives taking reductions of either 10% or 7.5%, depending on salary level.