Pirates Temporarily Suspend Employees' Retirement Benefits Amid COVID-19

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 28, 2020

One of the Pittsburgh Pirates logos is seen on a jersey of Garrett Jones during the baseball game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, June 28, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Pirates have suspended benefits for their baseball operations employees amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich, the Pirates are the first Major League Baseball team known to stop contributing to their employees' 401(k) plans. 

Rosenthal and Drellich noted the cuts will allow the Pirates to keep paying full employee salaries after some higher-up executives took a voluntary pay cut. 

Last week, Pirates president Travis Williams issued a statement announcing the team committed to paying full-time employees through May 31:

"Earlier today we held a conference call with our baseball operations employees who are on Uniform Employee Contracts to discuss the Commissioner’s decision to suspend all UECs across the league, and explain what that means for everyone.

"We informed the group that we will continue to pay them through May 31, while we evaluate the impact of the coronavirus on the 2020 season. We also told them that we are exploring an initial set of tiered salary reductions for highly-compensated employees in baseball and business operations, as well as other types of personnel adjustments."

A number of MLB teams have reportedly committed to paying employees for a period of time as the pandemic continues, per ESPN's Jeff Passan.

The San Diego Padres guaranteed pay for their baseball operations employees through Oct. 31; other full- and part-time employees had their pay guaranteed through May 15. 

MLB games have been suspended since March 12 when spring training was canceled because of the pandemic. The regular season was originally scheduled to start on March 26.