The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory is offering employees buyouts to try to cut its workforce in preparation for expected government budget cuts.
The lab, funded by the U.S. Energy Department, expects to shed 100 to 150 employees, about 9 percent of its staff, said Bob Noun, a spokesman for the lab. The buyouts will be offered to 1,350 full- and part-time employees who’ve been at the lab for at least a year, Noun said in a telephone interview today.
The lab, based in Golden, Colorado, is the only federal facility dedicated to research, development and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency, according to its website. It has 1,700 regular employees in a workforce of 2,600 including construction workers and subcontractors. The lab’s budget dropped $50 million to $333 million in fiscal year 2011, Noun said.
“We see the budget realities in the current fiscal year and in the near future dictating that we begin to reduce our operating budget,” he said. The buyouts are “a way of reducing our costs for the coming year but also preserving our critical mission capabilities at the lab.”
Workers have until Oct. 14 to apply for a buyout and lab managers can reject applications from those with critical skills. The buyout includes as much as 26 weeks of pay, depending on length of service, and health insurance for as much as three years.
The U.S. government hasn’t yet approved spending for the 2012 fiscal year and Noun said he doesn’t know how much NREL’s budget will be cut.
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