MADISON, WI.–The University of Wisconsin Department of Athletics announced today (Saturday, May 9) that it intends to implement a compensation and work reduction plan to include most of its employees in an effort to manage financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plan will tentatively go into effect on May 18 and continue through July 25.
“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. “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.”
Wisconsin Athletics’ highest-earning employees will be asked to voluntarily incur a 15-percent reduction in pay over the next six months. A total of 25 people comprises this group, including 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.
Most employees will participate in the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Work-Share program (pending approval) and have their work hours reduced by either 20 or 50 percent. This includes approximately 350 employees who can apply for expanded unemployment benefits that in most cases offset lost wages through July 25. Use of the Work-Share Program allows UW Athletics to retain skilled employees by reducing work hours while allowing employees to supplement lost wages with unemployment benefits.
The compensation reductions for high earners combined with the pending Work-Share Program participation would save UW Athletics an estimated $2.8 million.
The majority of UW Athletics staff continue to work from home while the state’s “Safer at Home” directive remains in effect and while the UW-Madison campus is temporarily closed.