UW Athletics proposes pay and work hour cuts amid pandemic

Camp Randall Stadium (Source: UW Madison)
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- The UW Department of Athletics says it will be cutting pay and hours for its employees as it faces financial challenges amid the pandemic.

In the proposed plan, the department's highest-earning employees will be asked to take a "voluntarily" 15-percent reduction in pay over the next six months, according to the director of UW brand communications, Jessica Burda Leslie, in a statement Saturday.

That group consists of 25 people, including Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez, head football coach Paul Chryst and head men’s basketball coach Greg Gard. There will be no reduction in this group’s work hours, according to Leslie.

Meanwhile, most of the department's other employees will have their work hours reduced by either 20 or 50 percent. The department says that about 350 of those employees will be able to apply for expanded unemployment benefits with the Wisconsin DWD's Work-Share program, pending approval.

The department says the pay cuts and work hour reductions will save the department about $2.8 million. The plan will tentatively go into effect on May 18 and continue through July 25.

Most of UW Athletics staff will continue to work from home per the stay-at-home order.

“Reducing compensation and work hours is obviously not something I want to see for any of our Badger Athletics family,” Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said in a statement. “But we are facing the same financial challenges that other organizations across the country are. We are working hard to minimize the impact on our employees while responding to the realities of the situation created by the pandemic.

“I greatly appreciate our highest earners’ willingness to consider voluntarily accepting a temporary reduction in pay, as well as the rest of our staff who are sharing in this exercise by reducing their hours to help us navigate our way through these unprecedented times," according to Alvarez.