Jewish Federation
Courtesy of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit's Facebook.

As the coronavirus continues to spread, JFMD says it cut jobs that can’t easily be done from home.

The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit has temporarily furloughed 35 percent of its staff, effective Monday, April 13. The employees who were affected were notified on April 6. 

This decision comes a week after the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit temporarily laid off 95 percent of their staff due to Michigan’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order in response to the spread of the coronavirus. 

“This decision was made to safeguard our organization and to safeguard the community,” Steve Ingber, chief operating officer of JFMD, told the Jewish News. “We wanted to make sure that we will be here long after this pandemic is over so we can continue to meet the needs of the community.” 

While Ingber did not have an exact number of how many staff members were affected by the furlough, internal sources give an estimate of around 44 employees. 

Ingber sat down with the rest of the management team to reach this tough decision. According to Ingber, most of the employees who were furloughed could not do their jobs remotely since their jobs “do not lend themselves to working from home.” He declined to elaborate further on which departments were affected. 

A furlough is a temporary leave of absence due to special needs of a company or employer, which is often due to economic circumstances. Employees who are furloughed can collect unemployment benefits, including the CARES Act from the federal government, which was set up in response to the coronavirus. 

According to Ingber, employees will not have to re-apply for their positions and it is JFMD’s intention to bring back all the staff members impacted by this furlough. 

“We are still a family. This decision was not based on anyone’s performances, but it was simply that some of the positions don’t lend to being worked from home,” Ingber said. “We have to do what’s best for the long-term health of our organization, of our employees and of the community.”

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