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Front Page - Friday, April 17, 2020

VW Chattanooga implements temporary virus furloughs

Volkswagen Chattanooga has furloughed approximately 2,500 employees and contractors due to the impact of the COVID-19 public health crisis. - Photograph provided

As the COVID-19 public health crisis deepened, Volkswagen Chattanooga implemented temporary emergency furloughs for its production and maintenance workforce effective April 11.

These employees have been unable to work since the factory’s production suspension, which began March 21, to help prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

Approximately 2,500 Volkswagen Chattanooga employees and contractors will be furloughed.

“Our primary objective is to protect the financial health of Volkswagen for the benefit of our team as we address the emerging and ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on our industry,” says Tom du Plessis, president and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga. “Right now, we have limited visibility on when we will be able to resume production, but we are committed to doing everything we can to preserve jobs.

“During this time, we will be focused on preparing to reopen in a responsible way, ensuring our team has the opportunity to return to work safely and as quickly as practicable.”

Volkswagen is taking steps to limit the furlough’s impact on employees, which is expected to last no more than four weeks.

The company will continue to provide health care benefits and coverage of premiums, paying both employer and employee contributions. Employees will still receive their first quarter bonuses as well as their March monthly bonuses.

With the recent enhancement of unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, these employees are now eligible to receive an additional $600 per week in federal compensation through the $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, as well as state unemployment benefits.

All furloughed employees will remain Volkswagen employees through the duration of the furlough period. Upon return, employees will retain their original dates of hire and accrued paid time off.

Non-furloughed employees will continue working from home and will use one mandatory vacation day next week. All employees have been asked to self-quarantine and maintain social distancing.

Those enrolled in Volkswagen’s apprenticeship and high school programs will have continued access to education. All instructor-led technical training are on hold until further notice.

The factory suspended production last month before stay-at-home mandates from the state and local governments. Volkswagen employees and production contractors received full pay and benefits during that time.

Source: Volkswagen Chattanooga