Fort Myers, Fla.-based Lee Health is freezing salaries for its 13,500 employees next year to help offset financial losses tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Fort Myers News-Press.
The pay freeze in 2021 will mark the first time in nine years that the publicly operated health system has not given employee raises. Salaries and benefits make up about half of the system’s nearly $2 billion in spending each year, according to the report.
Lee Health is facing a budget deficit for the first time in two decades due to financial strain linked to the pandemic. The salary freeze is one of several steps the system is taking to offset losses and avoid layoffs.
The system has halted most capital projects, and its top executives took pay cuts earlier this year. Lee Health will also reduce the match for employee retirement plans from 5 percent to 4 percent next year, and health plan premiums and copays will also increase, according to the report.
Read the full Fort Myers News-Press article here.