Tesla Furloughs Half Its US Delivery, Sales Employees Amid COVID-19

Tesla furloughs half its U.S. sales and delivery staff amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but it may not be permanent.
Brad Bergan
Image formatted to fit. Tdorante10 / Wikimedia

Tesla furloughed half of its U.S. sales and delivery staff on Friday, according to three people who work for the all-electric automaker from different states, reports CNBC. This comes amid growing worries of spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus at the workplace, leading many to work from home.


Tesla furloughs some of its staff amid COVID-19

Tesla first announced its plans to furlough all of its workers except hourly workers, and lower salaried employees' pay in an email sent to employees on Tuesday, reports CNBC. The decision was pushed forward by the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced the hand of CEO Elon Musk's electric car company to put a temporary halt on production at its main car plant, in the state of California.

At the time, Tesla informed its employees to expect car production to resume on May 4, but there are no indications from Californian officials that nonessential businesses will be permitted to reopen by this date.

Employees have told CNBC that people working in sales and delivery have been furloughed according to rank and tenure, instead of performance. Those with entry-level roles, or who have had lower sales quotas each quarter, have been furloughed, the CNBC sources said, including employees in more senior sales and delivery positions who've worked with the company for less than two years.

Hope for returns after COVID-19 and a call for engineers

One of the furloughed employees said they were worried this move will later be followed by permanent layoffs, as a continuation of Tesla's effort — since early 2019 — to lower costs and move on from brick-and-mortar stores. However, the furloughed employees expressed hope that they would return to Tesla once the pandemic is sufficiently curbed.

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