Are reduced hours really better than layoffs?
Posted by Amy Wilson on January 10, 2009
Every time I turn around, there is a news flash about another layoff. Meanwhile, everyone is wondering “is there an alternative?” Last month, companies were weighing the plusses and minuses of an unpaid holiday. Now, there are the possibilities of wage cuts and reduced hours. Peter Capelli explores this in his piece, Alternatives to Layoffs, and wonders why companies aren’t doing this more? Is it due to morale concerns or are companies just following the herd to please Wall Street?
A couple of friends, living the reality, have recently provided me with two different perspectives. Interestingly, the results break between having a college degree versus not and salaried versus hourly workers.
On the one hand is my friend, the attorney for the State of California. They have been asked to take a “weekly furlough” for 2009 (somewhere in the realm of 4 hours/week). He’s not exactly thrilled about it because it does mean less money, but hey he gets a nap on Fridays! He understands the reason and appreciates that he can keep his job. But, most importantly, he can plan for it.
On the other hand is my friend, the district manager for Starbucks. The primary source of her job stress is not the threat of layoffs, but rather the inability to provide her store workers with sufficient hours to pay their bills. It was particularly rough over the holidays; at a time when workers came to expect extra hours, they were suddenly turned away from getting any. Sure, the workers understand why, but it doesn’t really help because they can’t plan for it.
Back to Kris Dunn’s question: is it better to have a college degree? It sure is … and please, use it to plan.