One of America’s oldest and best-known major publications dedicated to Black women readers has furloughed some staff. In a press release on Tuesday, Essence said it had been forced to furlough staff due to revenue losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which led the publication to cancel major events such as the ESSENCE Festival of Culture.
“Six months into an unprecedented and continuing global pandemic, COVID-19 has had a broader and longer-lasting impact than anyone expected—and Essence Communications, Inc. has not been immune to it,” the outlet said in a statement. “The company informed impacted team members today, and while no furloughed employee will perform any work on behalf of ECI during this period, we will pay everyone impacted throughout this week and will cover their medical benefits premiums throughout the furlough.”
The publication said that while it would only pay staff salaries through the week, it did not anticipate the furloughs lasting longer than six months. Essence is the latest in a series of media publications that have implemented furloughs during the pandemic, including Vox Media, magazine publisher Condé Nast, and BuzzFeed News, which restored full salaries for employees in recent weeks.