Harvard to Pay Displaced Campus Service Staff Until May 28

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(Bloomberg) -- Harvard University will guarantee pay and benefits through May 28 for thousands of workers in dining, custodial, security and administrative jobs who have been displaced due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision, announced Friday, is an extension of the 30 days initially provided to such staffers when the university ordered students to return home as the pandemic began taking hold.

Harvard, the richest U.S. college, with a $40.9 billion endowment, will also keep childcare centers on the campus open through June 30, the school said in a statement. The policy on pay and benefits applies to staff whose work can’t be done remotely or those who have no work because there are fewer people on campus.

“For our workforce, who each day are so critical to the success of this institution, this unprecedented public health emergency has created innumerable challenges,” Harvard Executive Vice President Katie Lapp said in a statement. The steps provide greater certainty “in these uncertain times with regards to their pay and benefits, and greater stability for them and their families.”

Three unions representing the workers praised Harvard’s actions, according to statements provided by the university.

“At such an incredibly challenging and unprecedented time for so many people in the U.S. and in our community, it’s heartening to see this good citizenship from the university -- Harvard taking care of its committed and hard-working staff, both union and non-union,” said Carrie Barbash, president of Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers.

Colleges are grappling with financial issues related to coronavirus. Harvard, which is refunding students for room and board costs, this week forecast a decline in revenue and a slowdown in philanthropy due to the economic impact related to the pandemic.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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