CNB offers voluntary furloughs to employees sidelined by closures

BY D. SEAN ROWLEY
Senior Reporter
04/22/2020 02:30 PM
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.
About the Author
Sean Rowley was hired by the Cherokee Phoenix at the beginning of 2019. Sean was born a long time ago in Tulsa, where he grew up and attended Booker T. Washington High School as a freshman before moving to Pawnee County and graduating from Cleveland High School in 1987. 

He graduated sans honors from Northeastern State University in 1992 with a bachelor of arts in mass communication with emphases in advertising and public relati ...
david-rowley@cherokee.org • 918-453-5560
Sean Rowley was hired by the Cherokee Phoenix at the beginning of 2019. Sean was born a long time ago in Tulsa, where he grew up and attended Booker T. Washington High School as a freshman before moving to Pawnee County and graduating from Cleveland High School in 1987. He graduated sans honors from Northeastern State University in 1992 with a bachelor of arts in mass communication with emphases in advertising and public relati ...

News

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/07/2020 04:30 PM
Qualified filmmakers can...

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/07/2020 04:29 PM
To honor the memory Will Rogers and Wiley Post, pilots ...

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/07/2020 04:25 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s data on its website showed Friday the state’...

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/06/2020 03:15 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s data on its website showed Thursday the stat...

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/05/2020 02:15 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s data on its website showed Wednesday the sta...

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/05/2020 09:04 AM
The six top ways Cherokees ...