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Harley-Davidson announces temporary salary reductions, spending cuts in response to COVID-19

CEO Jochen Zeitz and the Board of Directors will forgo salary and cash compensation, the company said. Other salaried employees will see paycuts of up to 30 percent
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MILWAUKEE — Harley-Davidson, Inc. announced it is taking additional actions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its effect on the business.

The company said it will "significantly" reduce all non-essential spending and will temporarily reduce salaries in an effort to lower costs.

“The effects of COVID-19 on economies around the world have been swift and unprecedented," said acting president and CEO Jochen Zeitz. "It is essential for us to respond quickly, adapt and position the company to manage near-term challenges while preparing to reenergize the business for the recovery and beyond.

Harley-Davidson said Tuesday it is:

  • Significantly reducing all non-essential spending
  • Temporarily reducing salaries
    • CEO and the Board of Directors will forgo salary/cash compensation
    • 30 percent reduction for executive leadership
    • 10 to 20 percent reduction for most other salaried employees in the United States
    • No merit increases for 2020
  • Implementing a hiring freeze

Outside of the United States, the company will take similar actions as based on regulations governing each of its operating locations, Harley-Davidson said. Salary reductions will be reassessed at the end of the second quarter as the company continues to closely monitor business conditions, the company said.

The majority of Harley-Davidson's global production employees are currently on temporary layoff. Medical benefits remain intact for all global employees. 

“We understand that navigating this new reality has a real impact on our employees,” said Zeitz. “Their dedication to Harley-Davidson is never taken for granted, and we thank them for supporting one another and rallying together as we manage the profound impact of COVID-19.”

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