UW Medicine furloughs 4,000 employees in wake of budget shortfall
UW Medicine announced Monday that it will temporarily lay off as many as 4,000 employees from its unionized workforce, thanks to budget shortfalls brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Last week, it furloughed approximately 1,500 staff members due to the cost of COVID-19 measures and losses from halting elective surgeries and scheduled office visits. Those in the next round of furloughs are expected to be off the job for one week to two months, but will keep their full benefits.
Total furloughs at UW Medicine encompass roughly 15% of its workforce, out of the 30,000 people it employs.
“This has been a very difficult, but necessary, decision to address the financial challenges facing UW Medicine and all healthcare organizations responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lisa Brandenburg, president of UW Medicine Hospitals and Clinics. “We have taken deliberate steps to ensure patient care is not impacted by aligning staff levels with current and predicted patient volumes including the return of elective procedures, expanded in-person clinical services and continued expansion of telehealth, while ensuring UW Medicine is prepared to respond to future surges of patients with COVID-19.”
The furloughs will affect workers at Harborview Medical Center, UW neighborhood clinics, and more.