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JPL plans to lay off hundreds of employees due to lack of funding

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is facing a significant challenge as it prepares to lay off 530 employees and 40 contractors due to uncertainties surrounding funding for the 2024 fiscal year. In an internal memo, Dr. Laurie Leshin, the Director of JPL, explained the need to reduce spending in light of the lack of finalized appropriations, particularly for the Mars Sample Return (MSR) project.

The impending layoffs, affecting around 8% of JPL’s workforce, signify a difficult decision made to address financial constraints. Employees have been directed to work remotely, limiting access to the JPL Lab in Pasadena, as the organization works through budgetary challenges.

A virtual workforce update meeting has been scheduled to inform impacted employees of their status, with notifications sent via email. Dr. Leshin expressed the difficulty of the decision, describing it as one of the toughest actions taken during her tenure as Director of JPL.

Despite the layoffs, affected employees will continue to receive their base pay and benefits for a 60-day notice period. This move reflects the financial hurdles faced by JPL and the proactive measures being taken to navigate these challenges while ensuring the organization’s continued stability.

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