NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is poised to lay off 530 employees along with 40 contractors because the federally funded research and development center has yet to receive funding for fiscal year 2024, according to an internal memo.
“While we still do not have the FY24 appropriation or final word from Congress on our Mars Sample Return (MSR) budget allocation, we are now in a position to take further significant action to reduce our costs,” Dr. Larry Leshin said in a letter to staff Tuesday.
The upcoming layoffs will affect 8% of JPL's total workforce.
Most JBL employees were asked to work from home on Wednesday, the memo said. During the “Mandatory Remote Workday,” most workers will not have access to the JPL laboratory in Pasadena.
Following a virtual employee update meeting Wednesday morning, each employee will be notified by email whether he or she is affected by the layoffs, the memo said. Leshin added that workers' access to JPL systems would be terminated “soon following the announcement.”
“This is the hardest step I've had to take since becoming director of JBL, and I know I join all of you in wishing it wasn't necessary,” Leshin added.
All affected employees are expected to continue receiving base pay and benefits through their 60-day notice period.