NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is preparing to lay off 530 employees along with 40 contractors, as the federally funded research and development center does not receive funding for fiscal year 2024, according to an internal memo.
“Although we still do not have appropriations for FY24 or final word from Congress on Mars Sample Revenue (MSR) budget allocation, we are now in a position where we must take further significant action to reduce our spending,” Dr. Lori Leshin said in a statement. Letter to employees on Tuesday.
The upcoming layoffs will affect 8% of JPL's total workforce.
Most JPL employees were asked to work from home on Wednesday, the memo said. During the “mandatory telework day,” most workers will not be able to get to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena.
After a virtual workforce update meeting Wednesday morning, each employee will be notified via email whether they have been affected by the layoffs, the memo said. The laid-off workers' access to JPL's systems will be stopped “very shortly after notification,” Leshin added.
“This is the most difficult action I have had to take since becoming director of JPL, and I know I join all of you in wishing it would not be necessary,” Leshin added.
All affected employees were expected to continue receiving their base pay and benefits during the 60-day notice period.
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