The owners of the New Jersey Devils are backtracking after indicating they would temporarily reduce full-time employees' pay amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Our commitment has been to do our best to keep all of our employees working through this very difficult situation," Devils co-owner Josh Harris said in a statement Tuesday. "As part of an effort to do that we asked salaried employees to take a temporary 20% pay cut while preserving everyone's full benefits - and keeping our 1,500 hourly workers paid throughout the regular season.
"After listening to our staff and players, it's clear that was the wrong decision," Harris continued. "We have reversed it and will be paying these employees their full salaries. This is an extraordinary time in our world - unlike any most of us have ever lived through before - and ordinary business decisions are not enough to meet the moment. To our staff and fans, I apologize for getting this wrong."
Harris and David Blitzer oversee the NHL club as well as the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. On Monday night, Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment CEO Scott O'Neil confirmed a report from the New York Times' Marc Stein stating the owners were asking full-timers working for both organizations to trim their pay and move to a four-day workweek.
The salary reductions were reportedly aimed at employees making more than $50,000. The cuts would have been implemented from April 15 through the end of June, according to Stein.
Harris issued the same apology through the 76ers on Tuesday.
Earlier Tuesday, ESPN's Emily Kapan reported the NHL is temporarily cutting league office employees' salaries by 25% in hopes of avoiding any layoffs.
The Devils were the first NHL team to make a public commitment toward compensating hourly workers after the NHL paused its season in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.