In late March, the NRA cut salaries across the board by 20% and laid off staff as a result of the effects of the Chinese coronavirus and the resultant cancellation of the Association’s annual convention. As reported earlier this week by the Politico, those cuts amounted to about 60 employees coming off the payroll.
Now a source has sent us an email that was just distributed within the NRA announcing more coronavirus-related furloughs that will take effect this weekend. In addition, the NRA has decided to suspend its matching contributions to employees’ 401(k) and 457(b) accounts.
Here’s the communication that went out to NRA employees:
Dear NRA Family,
The NRA has never been just a building or an organization to me. It is a family—of members, of employees and of patriots like you who every day pour your heart and soul into our singular mission of defending our nation’s freedoms. I want to personally thank you for all you have done, and continue to do, to live out this mission, especially during these unprecedented times. With the same fighting spirit the NRA is known for, we will get through this together.
These are extraordinarily challenging times for all Americans. In 43 years working for the NRA (29 of them as your Executive Vice President), I have never seen a crisis like the one our world is in right now, nor one that touches my heart so deeply. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are being felt in every corner of the global economy, in businesses both large and small, including right here within our beloved NRA. With virtually every state now under “stay at home” orders, day-to-day business activities stopped or greatly reduced, and households quarantined to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, this has been one of the greatest and most significant challenges we’ve ever faced as Americans.
Sadly, the NRA is not immune to these challenges, either. With the cancellation of the NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville and the required suspension of all in-person programs, trainings, fundraising and other events, and competitions, we have had to adjust. We have lost significant revenue. And just like every other business and household in America, we, too, must make difficult decisions now to ensure our “house”—the bedrock of protecting our nation’s freedom—remains viable for the long term.
Against this backdrop, and with a heavy heart, we have had to make the very painful decision to furlough employees who cannot perform their duties in the short term due to the cancellation or postponement of events, temporary closure of facilities or other disruptions in our operations. Although we do not have a crystal ball and cannot make specific promises, our hope—and intention—is to bring back as many furloughed employees as possible, as soon as possible, as conditions improve.
Employees who are affected will be contacted directly by Human Resources tomorrow, Friday April 10, with more details and to provide additional resources and answer specific questions. Furloughs will take effect on Sunday, April 12 and will end on varying dates based on employees’ duties and the needs of the NRA.
Here’s what this means for furloughed employees:
· Furloughed employees will not be paid or take leave during the furlough; however, employment status will not change. In accordance with employment law, during the furlough employees may not work on NRA business, even on a voluntary basis. Accordingly, e-mail and VPN access will be shut off, as will access to NRA facilities. Arrangements may be made on a case-by-case basis (and consistent with necessary health precautions) for furloughed employees to retrieve any needed personal items.
· All NRA benefits, including health insurance, will be retained under each employee’s current open enrollment selections. Furloughed employees will continue to pay their usual premiums for all elected benefits. Furloughed employees are not eligible to make 401(k) or 457(b) contributions during this time.
· State unemployment benefits are available to eligible employees, as well as expanded financial support to individual and families through the CARES Act.
In addition to the furloughs, the NRA has made the additional hard decision, pending approval from the NRA’s Executive Committee, to temporarily suspend employer matching contributions to the NRA 401(k) plan. Employees will receive 30 days’ notice before such action takes effect. Like with the furloughs, our goal is to resume matching contributions as soon as possible as market conditions improve.
Employees are encouraged to evaluate personal contributions and financial options, and to take advantage of options not available in personal savings or investments accounts, such as deferred taxes and compounded growth. If you have any questions about your Plan, please contact our plan administrator Fidelity at 800-XXX-XXXX.
For 149 years, the NRA has withstood countless challenges—both within our country and against our organization as a whole—and we have always emerged stronger and more tightly knit. This will be no different. Our members and our employees are the heart of what we do and the first-line defenders of our freedom across America. I look forward to the time, hopefully soon, when we are all back together again as one united—and strong—NRA family.
We will get through this. Please stay safe.