[Editor’s note: Commissioner Roger Goodell sent to all NFL employees on Wednesday an email regarding paycuts, furloughs, and other efforts to cut costs due to the coronavirus pandemic. The full text appears below.]
Over the past six weeks, we have made a number of decisions to address the unprecedented public health and economic effects imposed by the COVID-19 virus. Those have included cancelling the Annual Meeting, closing our offices as well as all club facilities, prohibiting virtually all travel involving players and club staffs, moving to a virtual off-season program, and the complete transformation of the Draft into a fully remote and virtual event.
The economic consequences for our country have been substantial, and we have taken a series of steps in response to their impact on the NFL. Within our own offices, we have limited new hiring, frozen salaries for many employees, and undertaken a thorough, organization-wide review to identify and implement cost reductions. During this time, one goal has been to maintain pay and benefits for our workforce for as long as possible.
It is clear that the economic effects will be deeper and longer lasting than anyone anticipated and that their duration remains uncertain. The downturn has affected all of us, as well as our fans, our business partners, and our clubs.
While we continue to prepare for a full 2020 season of NFL football, we also need to manage in a responsible way, adopting a flexible approach that responds to the current conditions in a way that minimizes the risk to our employees, our clubs, and the NFL’s business. Our league has great strength and has shown its resiliency time and again. But part of that strength is the result of careful planning and a willingness to act responsibly. In that spirit, I am writing to share news about some difficult decisions that we are making at this time.
First, we will implement tiered reductions in base salary, which will take effect with the paycheck that you will receive on May 22nd. The reduction will be 5% for up to Manager level, 7% for Directors, 10% for Vice Presidents, 12% for Senior Vice Presidents, and 15% for Executive Vice Presidents. No employee earning a base salary of less than $100,000 will be affected by this reduction and no employee’s salary will be reduced below $100,000 as a result of these reductions. We hope that business conditions will improve and permit salaries to be returned to their current levels, although we do not know when that will be possible.
Second, we will implement a furlough program for individuals in our workforce who are unable to substantially perform their duties from home and/or whose current workload has been significantly reduced. It is important to remember that a furlough is not a termination. We do not know how long a furlough will last, but we are hopeful that we will be able to return furloughed employees back to work within a few months.
Furloughs will become effective on May 8th and you will be advised over the next few days if you are being furloughed. Furloughed employees are not expected to perform any work and are not paid. However, if you are receiving medical, dental and vision benefits through the NFL, we will pay the full cost of maintaining those benefits for you and your family during the furlough period. Our HR team will provide all furloughed employees with any additional information about how to apply for any benefits for which you may be eligible.
Third, we will reduce the NFL Pension Plan and Make Up & Auxiliary (SERP) contributions from 15% to 10% of eligible compensation. This is a permanent change that will take effect on July 1, 2020.
The NFL is not immune to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is our obligation to take responsible steps to protect the business and manage through this crisis as effectively as possible. These decisions were difficult and we know these measures will cause hardship for those impacted. I encourage everyone to continue to identify ways of operating more efficiently and reducing costs. If we do that, I believe that furloughs and compensation reductions can be limited, or in time even reversed. I assure you that we will continue to monitor economic conditions, communicate with you promptly and openly – whether the news is good or bad – and have your interests in mind as decisions are made going forward.
If you have questions, please contact any member of our HR department. Most important, please stay safe, look after yourself and your family, and continue to share our optimism that we will be able to resume normal operations and have a 2020 season that makes all of us proud.