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Job losses mount as Redfin says workers can make more on unemployment

Residential powerhouse Redfin has furloughed 41 percent of workers, giving them “a transition bonus” and health-care benefits through the summer.

GLENN KELMAN

Remaining staff will see a temporary salary cut of 10 to 15 percent and the company has said, “We’ll stick with our commitment to pay our remaining agents a higher base salary this spring, so that everyone still working earns a living wage.

In a post of the company’s blog, CEO Glenn Kelman said furloughed employees may get more in unemployment insurance than the company could pay them.

He wrote, “We decided on this large-scale furlough because fewer people are buying and selling homes, but another factor was the federal government’s $600 weekly contribution to each person’s unemployment insurance.

“Of the field folks leaving, we estimate about 75% live in states that will allow them to earn more from unemployment insurance than from Redfin.”

Avison Young, meanwhile, is cutting its executive team’s pay as the company works through the corona virus pandemic.

In a statement issued Monday, the company said it was introducing temporary pay cuts for salaried employees making above a certain threshold.

“To operate efficiently, we have responded with strict cost containment measures, including cancelling events, suspending travel and other actions,” said the statement.

“Today, we shared with the entire Avison Young family that we are introducing temporary pay cuts for salaried employees making above a certain threshold to protect jobs and minimize layoffs or furloughs. The highest percentage cuts are being taken by the firm’s entire executive team.

“Our staff have responded admirably and graciously, and we are confident that we will emerge from this challenging time stronger together. Our long-term goal, as ever, remains: to take care of our people, clients and communities.”

Meanwhile, JLL told the Dallas Morning News it may make staffing changes throughout its US network.

“The corona virus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges that are changing the needs of our clients and may require staffing changes in specific situations in alignment with government programs,” the company said in a statement to DMN. “It is important to note that JLL is well-positioned to emerge with resilience from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have measures in place and are exercising tight discipline to help ensure our company can continue to protect our people and serve our clients and shareholders during this unprecedented global pandemic and when the economic and business environment improves.”

On the residential front, some office staff across Terra Holdings and its subsidiaries, including at Halstead and BHS, were temporarily furloughed last week and executive pay cut.

DIANE M. RAMIREZ

Diane Ramirez, Halstead chairman & CEO said in an email to workers, “Halstead has successfully navigated many challenges in our 40-year history, and we intend to be in a position to weather any obstacles that may come our way for years to come. With this in mind, our Terra Holdings ownership and leadership teams are taking a number of steps to safeguard our financial health and future.”

The company has cut executive pay for the duration of the downturn and temporarily furloughed a portion of its office staff.

Terra Holdings will be paying for each furloughed employee to maintain their benefits, including healthcare coverage, for one month and intends to rehire them when its offices re-open and business can resume as normal.

“We are comforted that the new stimulus package will help provide expanded financial assistance to our furloughed staff during this time,” said Ramirez.

“These are challenging times where we had to make difficult decisions. However, we are confident that taking these steps will result in a stronger and more sustainable future for our firm.”

Neither Douglas Elliman, the city’s largest residential firm, nor Corcoran, its second largest, responded to requests for comment from Real Estate Weekly.

However, The Real Deal reported that Elliman has laid off 100 people and Corcoran enacted across-the-board pay cuts and suspended ad budgets.

Last week, Compass confirmed it has furloughed 375 workers across the US and CEO Robert Reffkin has ceased taking any pay for the duration of the pandemic.

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