Clark County announces voluntary separation, furlough programs

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — While we have mostly heard about layoffs and furloughs at hotels and casinos, Clark County had to make a tough announcement to do the same. The cuts will also affect jobs at other agencies.

“We’re going to see some things where it’s not going to be a lot of fun,” said Clark County District D Commissioner Lawrence Weekly.

Commissioners unanimously approved voluntary separation and furlough programs on Tuesday. They’re available for Clark County, water reclamation district and UMC employees.

“This was an effective tool during the economic crisis we had some ten years ago,” noted Clark County District G Commissioner Jim Gibson.

The voluntary separation program allows employees to resign or retire by June 30.

If approved, staff can get a full week of pay for every two years of employment, up to a maximum of 15 weeks of compensation. Employees will also be eligible for two years of health insurance coverage.

The voluntary furlough program also allows employees to take unpaid time off.

Those who participate in the program would not be able to be rehired for three years.

“Early separation, we’ve got a lot of employees that are eligible for that, so we want to make that an option,” said Mason VanHouweling, UMC CEO.

8 News Now asked VanHouweling how many employees, to which he replied:

“Yeah, we’ve got about 300 or so that are eligible that we want to offer up a package. We want to be able to give our employees options to help minimize any impact. We’ve been working very closely with management, our unions, because unfortunately, we are looking at all of our expenses.”

VanHouweling said the hospital anticipates a $200 million deficit because of COVID impacts. It’s a major loss after UMC had five years of profitability up until March, according to VanHouweling.

“We’ve seen a dramatic drop in our visits, our revenues; our revenues are down about two-thirds,” said VanHouweling. “Unfortunately, our expenses are up dramatically because of the care we’re doing out in the community.”

Other financial contributors include canceling surgeries, cost of personal protective equipment and ventilators, as well as building a second lab to expand COVID-19 testing.

While they’re investments to help fight the virus, they’re causing a fiscal struggle.

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