RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Transportation has told its employees to take unpaid time off until the end of June to help the department save money as part of cost-cutting measures during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Transportation Secretary J. Eric Boyette wrote in an email to employees on Monday that they will have until June 26 to take 20 hours of unpaid time off.
NCDOT told Traffic Team 9′s Mark Taylor the department implemented a staged furlough plan that started with the executive leadership team on May 16.
The next week, the next level of management will also be furloughed. Finally, should it be required, the remainder of the NCDOT workforce will begin furloughs on May 30 through June 26.
“Our employees are committed and dedicated which makes this decision so difficult,” Boyette said. “We began furloughs with executive staff as leaderships must begin at the top. My hope is that we identify ways to replace lost revenue so that rank and file employees are never furloughed. “
NCDOT told Channel 9 COVID-19 had a swift impact on the department’s budget. While the full impact will not be known until after the pandemic has ended, officials said indicators point to a $300 million loss in revenues through June 30.
The temporary cuts will allow the department to maintain critical operations while cutting their costs. An official said the furloughs will save the department about $7 million.
The department said it will continue to look for more ways to reduce expenses and find other opportunities to stabilize finances.
The NCDOT already laid off nearly half of all its temporary employees, suspended many of its programs and enacted a hiring freeze. With these new furloughs, many other projects could be put on hold.
The NCDOT hasn’t released a new timeline on when major projects could resume or be completed but the department could reduce money in other areas and request federal funding to offset the loss.
While the employees are furloughed, the department is working on a plan to ensure the critical services continue. No decision has been made regarding furloughs for the 2021 fiscal year.
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