CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — 156 county employees will be temporarily furloughed effective on Sunday after Cumberland County Commissioners voted on Thursday, because of the coronavirus and the ensuing reduced operations.
Staffing will be limited to employees necessary to support mandated county functions, as determined by commissioners, the President Judge, elected officials, and department heads.
County commissioners say they worked with each department to gather information on how many employees were needed to sustain the county government.
Employees working in the Cumberland County Prison, Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Coroner’s Office, and the Department of Public Safety will not be affected by the reduction in staff because of essential operations.
Due to reduced revenue and increased COVID-19 expenses, specifically for personal protective equipment, the county says the temporary staffing changes were necessary and will save Cumberland County $335,000 per month.
“Given the impact that COVID-19 has had on our county, we made the necessary decision to temporarily furlough 156 staff members,” Commissioner Gary Eichelberger said. “Our employees are the backbone of county government; we had to make important decisions to temporarily reduce operations to only the essential functions necessary for public safety, and maintaining county government.”
The county says employees will continue practicing social distancing, work on alternate schedules, and telecommuting.
“The effects of this pandemic are unprecedented; the results of which are unknown,” Eichelberger added. “We care for our employees, their livelihood and their families; and we are committed to recalling employees as soon as possible.”
Employees are eligible to apply for unemployment compensation benefits at the Office of Unemployment Compensation beginning Monday, April 27.
The county will continue health care benefits for furloughed employees until at least July 31.