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Mercy to make thousands of furloughs, layoffs

Mercy didn’t give an exact number of employees who will be furloughed

ST. LOUIS — Starting next week, Mercy will furlough thousands of employees, while others will have their positions eliminated, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Lynn Britton, president and CEO of Mercy, said Mercy delayed or canceled many services to better prepare for treating COVID-19 patients. As a result, the system experienced a heavy financial loss for March and April.

To help the health care system recover from those loses, it will be making furloughs and layoffs throughout the system.

Britton said the furloughs will continue as needed through the end of July. Health insurance will continue through the furlough period.

For employees who have already used their time off, there will be an additional 80 hours of pay available thanks to donations of PTO from others across the company.  

In addition to the furloughs, positions at every level will be eliminated, which will impact every department across the company. Those employees will receive severance pay.

RELATED: BJC turns to furloughs, other cost-saving measures

Some of the employees who will be remaining in their positions will have reduced hours and some will be taking a pay cut. Britton, along with other leaders across the company, will be earning up to 26% less. The most significant reductions will be made at the senior level, according to Britton.

For all employees, 401k/403b service contributions and matches will not be made for the calendar year 2020 and annual merit increases may be delayed, Britton said.

Britton also said no one will be hired into open positions for the foreseeable future.

“Each of us must maintain the energy and focus required to support our patients, our ministry and one another in the weeks and months ahead,” Britton said. “It will not be easy, but it will be our own unique opportunity to make a lasting contribution to a ministry that has already weathered long wars, deadly pandemics and nearly two centuries of change.”

Mercy joins other health care systems across our area to make furloughs including BJC HealthCare, SSM Health and Hospital Sisters Health System.

RELATED: Metro East health system furloughs thousands

Statement from Mercy:

“Like other health care systems across the country, Mercy is taking difficult steps to address the heavy economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. Starting next week and through the end of July as needed, we will begin furloughing co-workers across Mercy’s four-state service area. Health insurance will be continued throughout the furlough period, and an additional 80 hours of pay may be provided through Mercy’s crisis PTO fund. Mercy is also eliminating positions at every level of the organization, impacting every department and every community we serve. In doing so, we will provide severance packages to help care for our co-workers and their families. At this time, Mercy is unable to provide numbers as we are still working to keep as many co-workers employed as possible.

In addition to these measures, all leaders will earn up to 26% less this year than last, with the most significant reductions at the senior level. For all co-workers, 401k/403b service contributions and matches will not be made for 2020 and annual merit increases may be delayed, as well. No one will be hired into open positions for the foreseeable future without approval of Mercy’s senior leadership.

Our hearts go out to those impacted by these changes and the unprecedented impact of this global pandemic.”

RELATED: SSM Health is putting 2,000 employees on furlough

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