St. Joseph Hospital Announces Three-Month Employee Pay Cut, Other Changes 

St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor is asking its employees to take a pay cut. Starting May 1st, employees will take a three-month cut, of five percent, and there will be other changes as well beginning in June.About 800 people work at St. Joseph Hospital. The cuts will affect every employee there, including leadership.Hospital officials say until this point they’ve been able to cope with changing economic conditions, lower patient numbers and increased expenses, but the cost-saving measures put in place over the last year are no longer enough.They say starting in May and for the three months following, hourly employees will be asked to take five percent of their base hours in unpaid furlough days. Salaried employees will be asked to take a five percent reduction in salary, and allowed flex time where possible. If they choose, employees can also reduce their weekly hours from 40 to 36.”It is a cut. We appreciate that. We’re doing that in lieu of having a layoff. We don’t want to have a layoff, we’re cognizant people need their jobs. This is a small community, as a spinoff, some people are sole providers for their family, so we want to try to preserve jobs for them,” says CEO, Sister Mary Norberta.Starting in June, the hospital will also be eliminating some programs for the rest of the year. They’ll no longer be matching retirement plans, reimbursing tuition for classes that start after June 1st, or repaying student loans for new employees.They’re also eliminating float pay for clinical staff and bonus pay for contingent staff starting May 1st, and they are reducing overtime and making other changes for the rest of 2010.They couldn’t say how much money they’re hoping to save over the coming year, but tell us they will be evaluating these changes closely in the coming months.