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The parent company of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers reversed a decision on Tuesday to garnish wages for team employees throughout the coronavirus pandemic after a part-owner and other employees pushed back on the move.
The decision came hours after Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment informed full-time, salaried employees that they would be subject to pay cuts of up to 20 percent and move to a four-day workweek. The cuts affected employees earning more than $50,000 a year and the cuts were an effort to avoid layoffs, company executives said.
“Our commitment has been to do our best to keep all of our employees working through this very difficult situation,” said Josh Harris, co-owner of the Sixers and Devils. “As part of an effort to do that we asked salaried employees to take a temporary 20 percent pay cut while preserving everyone's full benefits — and keeping our 1500 hourly workers paid throughout the regular season. “After listening to our staff and players, it's clear that was the wrong decision. We have reversed it and will be paying these employees their full salaries."
The NBA suspended its 2019-20 season on March 11 after a player on the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. The NHL followed suit the following day as federal officials issued guidance regarding the cancellation of mass gatherings, including sporting events. Both leagues intend to resume their seasons at some point in the future.
Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment previously said that they would continue paying hourly staffers at the Devils’ home arena during the suspension of the season.
The pay cuts for salaried workers would have taken effect on April 15 had they proceeded. Sixers part-owner Michael Rubin was “outraged” at the decision to temporarily cut pay, Stadium reported.