The furloughs will save only about $1 million, the mayor said, but may serve as a useful symbol as he continues to negotiate with labor unions representing municipal employees over broader payroll savings.
Everyone in the New York City mayor's office, including the mayor himself, will be furloughed for one week without pay beginning October 1 to close a budget shortfall created by the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday.
The coronavirus outbreak had caused the city to lose $9 billion in revenue and forced a $7 billion cut to the city's annual budget, de Blasio told reporters.
The furloughs will save only about $1 million, the mayor said, but may serve as a useful symbol as he continues to negotiate with labor unions representing municipal employees over broader payroll savings. De Blasio plans to work without pay during his own week-long furlough, the New York Times reported.
"It was not a decision I made lightly," he told reporters. "To have to do this is painful for them and their families, but it is the right thing to do at this moment in history."
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
With the furloughs and other savings, the mayor's office budget this fiscal year will be 12 percent smaller than it was last year, de Blasio said, though he did not provide absolute totals.
The policy will affect 495 staff, the Times reported, and the week-long furloughs will be staggered among them between October and March 2021. De Blasio has warned he may have to lay off 22,000 city employees if savings cannot be found in the negotiations with the labor unions.He is also seeking greater borrowing power from state lawmakers in Albany, New York state's capital, who have been resistant so far.