The YMCA of Greater Boston has furloughed 85 percent of its employees after closing its branches and losing revenue from fees to take swimming lessons, wellness classes and similar activities.
James Morton, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Boston, told WGBH News that 1,800 employees were furloughed, while 325 full-time and 49 half-time workers were retained. He said the furloughs started after all employees received their full compensation through the last Friday of March.
"We continued to pay full- and part-time staff for a full two weeks after we closed our branches just because, you know, we didn't want to cause the kind of hardship that might happen immediately if we were unable to continue to pay," he said. "We just kind of figured out how to manage that expense."
The YMCA issued a statement indicating furloughed staff will continue to be employees and be returned to work as soon as possible. Their health, dental and vision insurance coverage will extend through the end of April. The Y's leaders have also taken a pay cut, according to the statement.
Most employees still working are providing two meals a day to school children, staffing one of the 12 emergency care centers for the children of emergency workers or working in a membership and community support center.
Although the YMCA of Greater Boston has taken a financial hit, Morton said the organization has made a commitment to continue operating through the end of June and beyond, to the extent possible.
"These are really challenging times and we're making decisions day by day. ... The hardest decision we had to make as an organization was to furlough staff," he said. "But with the closure of our branches to wellness and aquatics and our shift to providing essential services, it kind of required that we re-adjust our staffing accordingly. And so we've been able to do that and, again, we hope that when we return to normal that we'll be able to bring back staff as soon thereafter as possible."