CNB offers voluntary furloughs to employees sidelined by closures
TULSA – Cherokee Nation Businesses announced on April 20 that it is offering the option of voluntary furloughs to employees of closed casinos, retail and manufacturing operations, as well as museums so they may apply for benefits under the federal CARES Act.
The option is available to CNB employees, but not Cherokee Nation employees due to the CN’s governmental operations and budget allocations. All CN employees are continuing to report for essential jobs, work from home, or receive administrative leave with full pay and benefits as they have since mid-March, and the CN is still following its fiscal 2020 budget.
“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, I’ve asked our business leaders to put health and safety first and to also look out for employees’ financial well-being.” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “I commend CNB leadership for offering this voluntary benefit.”
Since March 16, CNB has suspended operations at many of its facilities, which will remain closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic until conditions are considered safe for reopening. CNB has announced it will pay regular full-time and part-time employees of closed locations through May 15.
The CARES Act benefit applies an additional $600 per week to regular unemployment benefits through July 31. The CNB voluntary furlough program will begin May 2, allowing eligible employees to apply for the CARES supplement. Under voluntary furlough, eligible employees can receive state unemployment payments and the additional $600 per week through the CARES Act while remaining a CNB employee with health benefits covered by CNB during the span.
“In seeking ways to assist our employees, we recognized that this temporary benefit within the CARES Act will help eligible employees,” CNB CEO Chuck Garrett said. “We created this program because it is the right thing to do for our employees who can benefit from it. Our top priority is the health, safety and well-being of our employees.”
Some employees could see increases in their income with combined unemployment and CARES Act benefits, officials said. Participation is not mandatory for any eligible employee. In a press release, CNB officials stated that its Human Resources department will file for unemployment benefits on behalf of any employee choosing to enroll in the voluntary furlough program, and anyone who participates will remain a CNB employee and not face termination.
“It remains CNB’s intention to bring employees back once this public health crisis has eased and it is safe to reopen our doors and resume operations,” the release stated.