Furloughs: Welcome Or Lousy?

Rather than layoffs, a number of employers are turning to furloughs – forced unpaid time off – to meet their budgets. According to a NYT article, employees are handling them in different ways. Some use it as chill time. Others keep working anyway without pay, either out of guilt, routine, or fear of an actual layoff. Has your company been hit with furloughs? How are you dealing? Take our poll inside.


[NYT]

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  1. Geekybiker says:

    You have to be employed before you get furloughed.

  2. yoni242 says:

    if it means that you keep your job, then collect unemployment for that time and enjoy time with the family. it happended to with one job i had every few months we couldnt come to work for like a week bc of billing issues to the city, got a week of rest and took care of things that i could.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @yoni242: Yes, but that’s a double edged sword, isn’t it? You have a week-long furlough – would it look better for you to go to work anyway and be unpaid, or should you take the furlough as it was intended? If there are budget cuts and layoffs, and you’re wondering whether you’re at risk for being laid off, should you be going to work anyway?

      • NotATool says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: My compnay has “forced unpaid vacation” — your badge and remote access are disabled for the week you are on leave, so you don’t have the option of working even if you wanted to.

        Which is great and all until people at work realize you’re the only one with the passwords they need…

        • alexawesome says:

          @NotATool: That’s good. I think legally, you shouldn’t be working without compensation, and it could potentially get you and your company in trouble if you do so. I have no idea if that’s true or totally made up because it sounds good, so if you are someone who’s worried about this, you should most certainly check it out. It would utterly suck to get fired because you’re working off the clock in an effort to look good. :/

        • bwcbwc says:

          @NotATool: My company went with pay cuts rather than furloughs, at least for now. The “forced vacation” is over the Christmas holidays when the just about the whole company shuts down.

    • pop top says:

      @yoni242: You may not be eligible for unemployment if it’s just a week off though.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @squinko: And technically, you’re not unemployed, just on unpaid leave.

        • gaywolverine says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: It is a temporary layoff and in some states you are entitled to unemployment. It is a violation of federal law to “secretly” or openly work while on furlough. If your boss allows it, you are entitled to be paid. If you should get hurt or have something happen during that time, workers comp insurance will not cover it. No company worth a shit would allow it

  3. Anonymous says:

    One of my friends works for Endeavor, a talent agency in Los Angeles. To save money, the company sometimes does not allow the mailroom workers to “clock in”, effectively making them work for free. The employees don’t refuse or display any kind of negative sentiments out of fear of being let go.

    • Tim says:

      @OdelettePenguin: That’s illegal, and whistleblower laws mean that it’s illegal for the company to retaliate against the employees for speaking up.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @OdelettePenguin: Oh, yeah. Ditto on the casual winking of labor laws in the Entertainment industry. Wonderful place to work (well, before they shed a gajillion jobs (more likely in store)), great people to work with (really!), interesting assignments and the pleasure of working on things that you are interested in.
      It’s amazing how many MBAs and JD holders have assistant positions there – it’s more the norm, really.
      Overtime, uncompted comp time, “social” engagements that are required, all sorts of shenanigans. That said, no one threw crystal ashtrays at my head or sexually harassed me, or anyone that I knew. So I guess they’re cleaning up their act. :)

      • Skankingmike says:

        @Trai_Dep: that’s exactly what is wrong with this country. Just because you like your job doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get paid for the time you work. IT IS AGAINST THE LAW.

        • Trai_Dep says:

          @Skankingmike: It is, and I agree. It’s wrong and abusive.
          But it’s also a known reality that The Industry – while having a whole bunch of wondrous benefits, is also the worst place to work for until you’ve got your production deal/corner office. And since it runs almost exclusively on back-channel communication in confidence (blacklist-friendly, in other words), and everyone else does the same damn thing, and the consolidation of the studios (and pummeling of the unions), it’s quite unlikely to change.
          It doesn’t make it right, far from it, but I guess I’d rather pick battles that have a sliver of winning.

      • lannister80 says:

        @Trai_Dep: MBAs and JDs are the bottom of the post-grad barrel.

  4. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    My county has imposed some furloughs…but they’ve got a $400 million budget deficit.

    I understand the reasoning behind forced unpaid days off…but it’s almost as if it’s the calm before the storm. I think a lot of people see furloughs as the final step before a layoff, and that tends to get people worried. I wonder if a lot of people who actually stay home during the furloughs are job hunting, in case there really are layoffs.

  5. ElizabethD says:

    I know MANY people at my place of employment would have gladly taken furloughs (especially in the less busy summer months) and the commensurate pay cuts to avoid the layoffs that occurred here this past spring. Many longtime employees lost jobs. People were volunteering to cut their hours, take a month or two w/o pay, etc. to save colleagues’ jobs, but the suits were having none of it. Very sad.

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      @ElizabethD:
      Companies use the tough economic times to trim the fat – it’s not just about cutting the headcount, they want to get rid of older, higher paid people.

      • ElizabethD says:

        @Cant_stop_the_rock:

        And that is exactly what they did here, at least in my department, where people in their late 50s and early 60s were let go. These people were not ready to or planning to retire yet. In both cases they were the sole source of health and pension benefits for their spouses. Where’s the AARP when you need them? They seem to be rolling over on this one; I go to their site but find little encouragement for people to pursue age discrimination claims in such cases.

        • bwcbwc says:

          @ElizabethD: AARP isn’t the right organization for this…they’re just a marketing company targeting seniors.

          The company doing this is not “trimming the fat”, they are performing a corporate lobotomy (or lobectomy I suppose…), cutting the historic memory out of their organization. The best companies are furloughing and cutting salaries specifically so they don’t lose the valuable resources they will need when the economy picks up again.

          Care to name names? I sure don’t want to apply for a job at that place once they’re hiring again.

  6. OminousG says:

    Hillsborough County, Florida. Library services to be exact.

    1 working week of Furlough so far. Not all at once, and rumors have that at least 2 of those days will be up to the employee(s). The other days will be Mondays after holidays.

    I’m using that time to whore myself on craigslist tech support listings.

    • OminousG says:

      @OminousG:

      I should add that this is for the October 2009 to October 2010 budget year.
      Commissioners have already warned us that 2010-2011 is not balanced yet, and there will be no holding back.

    • HillSA23 says:

      @OminousG: I work for a WI county and we all just took a pay cut equal to 6 days off for the rest of the fiscal year.

      Similar situation here for 2010-2011. Our budget is as bad, if not worse, than it was for this year. Scary stuff. Lots of people looking for other jobs.

      It’s especially notable in Human Services where low pay is now lower pay and funding is becoming extremely tight for valuable community resources. Both the severity of reported cases and the waiting lists for programs that could help families are increasing.

      I don’t mind the furlough stuff so much. Sure, it sucks and I’ll miss the money. I feel worse about the kids in the community. The abuse cases that made me cringe are a thing of the past — people are FAR worse to their children in a recession.

      • OminousG says:

        @HillSA23:
        Our furlough, lack of cost of living pay increase increase, and the increase in health insurance equal a paycut of ~3.4% for hillsborough county employees.
        @SarcasticDwarf:
        everyone who works under the hcplc.org division.

    • SarcasticDwarf says:

      @OminousG: err, wtf is library services (and I ask that as a librarian)?

  7. Kevin Collings says:

    There isn’t a “I’d be on furlough next week if I hadn’t been part of the latest round of reductions” option, so I couldn’t vote. Cessna’s going down like… well, like a jet with two engine failures.

  8. Etoiles says:

    My last job took a sneaky route.

    The summer Fridays policy there is that you work extra Mon-Thur, and then you get to take every other Friday off. It’s basically a flex time arrangement that results in a couple of three-day weekends. Nice, right?

    And my first summer there, everyone took their summer Fridays, and it was the thing to do. I left just before what would have been my second summer there, as I wanted to relocate.

    But since then, they have failed to replace five positions (and in a thirty-person office, that’s a lot) and angry Facebook updates from the former co-workers I was close to show me that now, they’re working the extra, unpaid overtime Mon-Th… and still coming in on those “summer Fridays.” As a “favor.” “Just this once.” Except that now they’re all only taking like two Fridays in the whole summer…

    • ElizabethD says:

      @Etoiles:

      Employers have staff over a barrel these days. It’s awful. I’ve been told I may have to increase my hours but with no commensurate pay increase. Basically taking a 20% salary cut. Will try to fight this within the HR system if it happens, but I’m in no position to dictate deal-breakers in this economic climate; I need and want my job… kids to put through college etc.

  9. Snowblind says:

    The contractors at my account have been asked to work 32hrs each week instead of 40.

    Kept us from letting them go, which is good since many of them are previous employees from the outsourcing.

  10. ddmeightball says:

    God, I forgot how hot Jessica Alba was in Idle Hands.

  11. mmmsoap says:

    Well, we have “furloughs” every year here…it’s called summer vacation.

  12. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    No furloughs here, but at my previous company they started forcing us to take vacation days so they could get them off their books. I’d probably work on a furlough day if I was worried about my job and didn’t have anything better to do.

  13. ExtraCelestial says:

    I’m actually getting more hours due to the number of positions that have been cut. I want to complain about the hugantic work load, but overtime is better than no time! Plus I still make enough free time for myself to be able to visit the consumerist so not all is bad.

    • ElizabethD says:

      @TinkishDelight:

      Nice to have the extra income. Sucks for workers who are “exempt” from earning overtime for extra work, like yours truly.

      • ExtraCelestial says:

        @ElizabethD: I really feel for you guys. My GM is one of those people and he is so kickassingly awesome. I always feel bad he doesn’t get compensated for all the extra work he puts in. As someone else mentioned it really is something Dept of Labour should look into.

  14. pop top says:

    I have six furlough days here. Go state government! Although I have to admit that everyone I’ve talked to has agreed that we’d rather take furlough days than get pay cuts or see any of our co-workers get laid off (myself included). Most of us are treating them like extra vacation days.

    If only we could get our wonderful legislators to take furlough days too…

  15. Grant Gannon says:

    Something interesting to note about furloughs in 2009. If you are paid bi-weekly (not to be confused with twice monthly) you actually have 27 pay periods this year, one more than the normal 26 pay periods. I’ve heard of companies taking advantage of this and widely educating their employees about it. The savings are tremendous and the worker, if alerted well beforehand, doesn’t suffer too greatly.

    Explained -

    [bit.ly]

    • Geekybiker says:

      @Grant Gannon: They must hope their employees are pretty dumb then. Just because you get paid one more time in this year doesn’t mean you are actually getting paid a higher rate. I just means there are longer periods that you don’t get paid the next year.

      • Grant Gannon says:

        @Geekybiker: Say what? I know I’m not getting paid at a higher rate. I’m just getting an extra pay check I’m a bi-weekly pay schedule. July is when my “27th” payment of the year comes. I’ll get paid the 2nd, 16th and 30th. In a normal year, a bi-weekly paid employee gets paid 26 times, 10 months twice, 2 months thrice. In the pay leap year, it’s 9 months twice, 3 months thrice. (For me it was January, July and December)

        2010 will go back to 26 pay periods in year. It doesn’t work out to where it’s 27 then then 25. Best I can tell there are still 52 weeks in a year.

        • Geekybiker says:

          @Grant Gannon: “Companies taking advantage of this” says to me they are going to the employees saying “Hey, you would get paid 27 times this year, so no big deal if we furlough you for 2 weeks, right? You’ll still get the 26 payments just like a regular year!”

          The employees are pretty dumb if they buy the bit that them getting 26 payments still means there isn’t a pay cut in there. It just means that the days you aren’t getting paid for come out of next year.

          From the way you presented the info, it sounds like the companies are trying to sell the furlough as not a pay cut because of the pay periods.

        • bwcbwc says:

          @Grant Gannon: So basically one of those 3 months with the triple pay periods you’re still not getting paid for a couple of weeks. Whether it’s work or furlough.

    • oneandone says:

      @Grant Gannon: 27 pay periods if you’re paid on a Friday or Thursday, which I guess is many people but not all.

      I’m paid every other Tuesday – and this month is the 3-times paid month! Extra studen loan payment yay!

  16. jackbishop says:

    I’m a university professor, and I’ve been hearing some about my colleagues getting “furlough days”. But academia’s weird: the job isn’t exactly a 9-to-5, and just because the pay stops doesn’t mean the job does. Someone might have a MWF schedule, which means they aren’t necessarily facing students on Tuesday and might not even come into campus (unless they keep office hours), but they can’t just turn off the job for that day: that’s when they do research and prepare their Wednesday lectures. AFAICT, most furlough plans for academics are pretty raw deals to both the instructors and students: responsible instructors who care about the quality of their work still have to spend that day in prep, and the one thing which they probably do end up cutting is any services outside class they provide to students (office hours, etc.; some places, serving students on furlough days is explicitly forbidden).

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @jackbishop: I realized very quickly that all of my professors, even if they were only teaching for six hours MWF, were pulling 50 hour workweeks because of office hours, administrative meetings, extracurricular club meetings and planning for the next day. Academia really does not pay professors enough, especially for the work they put into teaching, and the extras that they do because they want to connect with their students (thanks for all the cupcakes and candy, Prof. C!)

      • DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: I’m university staff (library) and I was talking to some of the adjunct professors at my school. There’s really no way for them to take any furlough time – what are they going to do, just wander out of class a half hour early every Friday? They just take the pay cut and work normally.

        I took a couple Fridays off, though. The library survived without me.

        • floraposte says:

          @Ayarkay: Another university person here. And I mainly run a journal, which still has to go out and give subscribers their money’s worth, so a furlough would just mean a pay cut for the same hours. Fortunately, I’m in fiscally responsible, solid and reliable Illinois, so I’m sure I’ve got nothing to fear. Oh, look, the tooth fairy!

  17. csdiego says:

    They’ve been threatening furlough days where I work ever since last year, but nothing so far. I could actually have used the time off (it was going to be the day after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas) so I kind of wish they’d done it. I’d love to trade a bit of pay for more time off. We’ve had a few layoffs, although I wasn’t affected, and there’s no telling when there’ll be more. I think the CEO would prefer to lay people off than furlough, but he’s got unions to deal with.

    We’re not really busy enough to have to come in on days off. The only people I could see coming in on a furlough day are the ones who like to create drama and overinflate the value of their positions. I think (hope) management can see through that, but really the bottom line is that I just don’t know.

  18. aja175 says:

    We opted for desk sharing and forced (twist my arm, really) work from home opportunity. Our layoffs ended up being about 10% of our global staff… That’s still a lot of people, but given that we are a bank it could have been a LOT worse.

  19. ionerox says:

    My sister is getting 2 furlough days a month forced upon her, as a state employee working for a University.

    It’s adding insult to injury- she already works a 60 hour week and is underpaid for her position. I doubt she’ll actually work less- just get paid less. Too bad, as it’s forcing her to think about a new job (and she’s really, really good at what she does).

  20. Skankingmike says:

    I think this country needs to look at the bigger picture.

    Salaried employees are in fact indentured servants in which your hourly work does not equal pay.

    The creation of salary work has circumvented much labor legislation.

    Tell my why somebody shouldn’t be paid per the hour they work? why is it that you can force somebody who is salary to work more than 8 hours in a day without compensation for it? or work more than 40 hours in a week without overtime?

    Salary employees are often forced into working ridiculous hours without the benefit of being paid for them.

    This country needs a labor reform in the worst way, we’ve allowed big businesses to control how we live by dictating what they will pay for and won’t.

    Sorry but i just get pissed about this.

    I asked somebody who was getting furloughed if how they can take your money away from working if you aren’t paid hourly. They shrugged. Because my argument would be what about the days I work more than 8 hours in a day? or the times you’ve asked me to work weekends?

    If you’re not hourly why furlough?

    • sanjsrik says:

      @Skankingmike:

      Yes, but we’re not being furloughed are we? We’re collecting our paychecks and actually working.

    • ElizabethD says:

      @Skankingmike:

      As a salaried (exempt), part-time employee, I agree. But it will NEVER happen. (compensation for extra hours worked by salaried ppl) Our workaholic culture buys right into this, and now with this recession everyone is too scared to protest.

      • sanjsrik says:

        @ElizabethD:
        Protest what exactly? That you’re getting paid, have a job, and aren’t being furloughed?

        • ElizabethD says:

          @sanjsrik:

          Did you read the original post? That’s what I was responding to.

          To answer your question: Protest that a salaried part-time employee can be made to work full-time (and more) hours on a regular basis without compensation for those hours because the job is classified “exempt”. In essence, the employer is getting a full-time profession- or management-level worker and paying only part-time for his/her skills and experience.

    • HiPwr says:

      @Skankingmike: I hope you aren’t suggesting that we adopt the labor laws of France.

      • Skankingmike says:

        @HiPwr: I suggest a non salary life style. Its not only good for the worker but for the business as well.

        Think of all the wasted hours businesses pay for in the office life style?

        and then imagine all the extra hours you’d get paid for when you actually have work to do.

        @sanjsrik: what are you talking about? people are being Furloughed and salaried people I know are having money taken from their check for imaginary hours they didn’t work. How is that even remotely legal? seriously get a clue before you comment.

        • sponica says:

          @Skankingmike: my sig other is a salaried worker…10 months out of the year it’s nice. He has flexibility with his schedule, so if we accidentally sleep in, no big deal. He just has to make up the time. The two months of the year when his unit writes a major report for the mayor’s office, it stinks. he’ll work 100 hour weeks because the work needs to get done.

    • morlo says:

      @Skankingmike: Being on the clock wouldn’t help since you’d just be working for a low hourly wage. Your paycheck would be the same or smaller but more irregular.

  21. dragonfire81 says:

    Isn’t working while not being paid illegal?

    I also worry that even after the economy improves companies will try to keep going on the furloughs to save themselves money and further boost profits.

  22. ALaterDayTD says:

    In order to keep up and stay under budget, my company has cut everyones salary by 8% for a 3 month period. Hopefully, they don’t get used to it and keep it that way.

  23. U-235 says:

    Furlough? I worked 30 hours of overtime in the last month… Of course my industry isn’t hurting that bad.

  24. H3ion says:

    We didn’t furlough anyone but the top four executives took a 1/3 hit in compensation. It will accrue without interest until or if we are able to pay it.

    • ElizabethD says:

      @H3ion:

      IMO this is the FIRST step any large organization, whether profit or nonprofit, should take before contemplating other cost-cutting measures. The difference between the top execs’ salaries and the peons’ is ridiculous.

  25. annab says:

    I work for the state of NC as a university employee and, so far, we’ve got a .5% paycut with 10 furlough hours as our “repayment for that.” Don’t get me started on how to take 10 hours and have it make sense, you have to pad it with vacation time, but the real kicker is that my own job is 100% privately funded by donations and not state funds. It’s not a huge sum of money so I’m not that upset about it, but it’s still fairly ridiculous.

  26. sanjsrik says:

    IF it’s a government agency, wouldn’t this be business as usual as the employees at say the DMV can’t tell when they are working because they so rarely are.

    Or, such as the Child Services? Them not being there is a GOOD thing for all children and parents concerned for all the harm they cause.

  27. jdmba says:

    UCLA recently did a bunch of furloughs. Their version was to convert the 13 paid holidays to unpaid.

    • gadgetwhore says:

      Did they already start the furloughs in LA? I work for UC as well and I know they’re coming but I didn’t think anyone was hit yet. I don’t see how they can take away one of our benefits. If they want to give us an unpaid day every month thats one thing but to take away our holidays is just wrong!

  28. SadSam says:

    In the private industry they just reduce pay but there is no extra time off for that reduction in pay.

  29. Meathamper says:

    I need a furlough so I can finally learn how to properly pronounce “furlough”.

  30. xkevin108x says:

    Furloughs are almost always the wrong way to deal with a cash shortfall. The employees make or break your company and the morale hit along with the pay deduction of a furlough is a terrible thing.

    We had 7 days where I work. Two were on holidays that we are usually paid for. The other 5 we were able to schedule. I took them off all together and did a side job. In about 10 hours of self-employment, I made as much as I would have in 40 hours with my employer.

    • JiminyChristmas says:

      @xkevin108x: Whether or not furloughs are a morale buster really depends on the context. If you work in a company…like someone I know…where there have been 4 rounds of layoffs, a 5% pay cut and elimination of the 401(k) match, then reduced hours or a furlough don’t seem that bad.

      At least you still have some income and health insurance. No one is bailing on the company either…because there’s nowhere else to go.

  31. mushroom104 says:

    Even on a 40% pay reduction, frankly, I just feel lucky to have a job after watching 70% of my co-workers get laid off, and seeing the depressed look on the owner’s face every morning when he walks in.

  32. Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

    I work for a government agency, and we weren’t allowed to NOT take the furlough days. Meanwhile, it allowed me to get some vacation time in without having to spend any of my actual leave time.

  33. Digitizer says:

    2 weeks of furlough required before Dec. 31st at my place of employment—Being aware of the dire financial situation of the company, I’m concerned that this is only a temporary band-aid.

  34. qcgallus says:

    At my job they have told me that if it’s a slow afternoon, I can go home early. That translates to an average of 6-8 hours off/week. The only thing is I have to bring it up and request it, so my question that I pose is this:

    Do I request it and look like a team player, or am I damning myself by doing that? It was brought up to me by HR (small company, HR is 1 guy here)that I could do this, and that they needed me to. Am I lining myself up to get bounced out?

  35. innout3x3 says:

    I’m salary. My company told all the employees we are going to 32 hr weeks. All Fridays are off for at least july and august. I’m going to use the time wisely. I think of it as an extra day to do stuff I want to do. Clean up the house and organize. Go to Disneyland. Possibly go to community college for fun, etc.

  36. Skankingmike says:

    @sponica: But that’s the problem

    here’s an example.

    A Lawyer gets hired at 100k a year, said lawyer has to work 10 to 14 hours a day most days averaging say 60 hours a week.

    A 100k a year is around 50 dollars an hour. so if you factor in overtime this is how much you should make as said lawyer. 182,000 a year. See where they’re getting screwed?

    • floraposte says:

      @Skankingmike: And, of course, there are a lot of situations at considerably lower pay than that where the position is deliberately classified as exempt in order to avoid the responsibility for overtime. It’s definitely one of the problem areas in American labor.

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @floraposte:

        I think this was the case with a job I applied for when I was unemployed. I actually was offered the job, but it was kind of weird. It paid $7 an hour, but they said it was salaried, and it was iffy on the hours. They also said there was an opportunity to make more money and get more hours. It sounded bogus, and when the manager called me up and offered me the job, I asked him about it out of curiosity. He got extremely defensive, and I told him, thanks but no thanks.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I work for the state of Michigan, non-union. We have 6 furlough days to take between now and Oct 1. Those days have been assigned so that there is only one per pay period and some have adjoined holiday weekends, which is kind of nice.

    By spreading them out, we can’t collect unemployment. Some unions however, had a clause which stated they can demand consecutive days. 6 consecutive days is just enough to allow those employees to claim unemployment benefits.

    For the state to pay out unemployment, it costs them extra thereby adding to the deficit. So now those union employees have to take 9 days furlough, consecutive. But, they are getting unemployment. Not sure what is the better deal.

  38. BytheSea says:

    Would you consider it a furlough when you’re part time and they cut your hours and won’t let you pick up more, b/c your boss has decided to come back to work after taking a year off to care for her son?

  39. HogwartsAlum says:

    My company was going to do this furlough thing before we got bought out. Now the workload has gotten much bigger and I was BEGGING for them to hire some help. But they won’t.

    I would LOVE a freaking furlough just so I can get some rest. I’m so tired at night I can hardly write. At this rate, I’ll never finish my book.

  40. Schmack says:

    My company (a print, TV and web media group) gave us four days off in March and then three more each in Q2 and Q3 for a total of ten unpaid days off. That basically saves them a paycheck from every person in the company and helps to staunch the bleeding from our failing print business.

    Which is great, until they realized they’d been telling sellers – the only ones who actually make the money for the company – that they had to take unpaid time off. So now the sales staff gets to work as usual, and it doesn’t cost the company much because they’re on commission with a very small draw.

    I, for one, tried to negotiate more time off in exchange for a lower starting salary but I was told that vacation policies were not negotiable. Who’s laughing now, Corporate Stiffs! I get my two extra weeks and all you get is 1/24th of my salary back!

    I spend my furlough days working on my freelance design business (and drinking). I’ve already made enough this year to cover half my lost income, so it’s not too bad.

  41. Dillenger69 says:

    I got socked with a mandatory 3 week “vacation” around Christmas. unfortunately I only get 3 weeks of vacation a year and was told to use my PTO balance. As a result my PTO balance was negative until mid April.

  42. tinynancer says:

    My company has also been struggling to make ends meet, and even after many budget cuts, I knew that furloughs and/or pay cuts were going to be inevitable. I took the solution of approaching my boss and offering to take two furlough days a month for a 10% pay decrease. (I’m salaried.)

    This worked well. My boss gladly gave me the furloughs on my terms. I get to take the two days anytime of the month I want (w/ prior notice), and during those furlough days I’m completely free – no need to do any take-home work. I don’t live in fear of being laid off, as my boss is ever so appreciative of the fact that I approached her.

    And after not having a day off for almost 3 years (all my vacay time was used for going out of town), I must say that the R&R time is so much more valuable than the decreased pay.

  43. shockwaver says:

    My company, which is owned by a larger company, is being forced in to a %2.5 pay cut till the end of Q4 2009, and there are two days of forced unpaid vacation. Altogether, not horrible, but still rather worrying.

    Maybe if this company didn’t go in to large debt to purchase two other large companies in the last 6 months, this wouldn’t have happened.

  44. Anonymous says:

    My department is about to start “furloughs” but they managed to screw us even more. They are going to use our paid holidays. We will still take the holiday off but will no longer be paid for it. I wouldn’t mind an extra day off here or there but they are just stripping us of a benefit. If we complain all we hear is that we should be grateful we still have jobs.

  45. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    I probably won’t see a furlough — or at least it’d be somebody besides me who got it — but I would accept it as long as it was up front and honest. If they tried to make me work for free I’d have a fit. Eff that; I can work for free without their help!

  46. Carlee says:

    For what it’s worth – UCs have not decided definitely on furloughs (or converting the holidays to unpaid ones). There’s three options on the table, two which include furloughs (the number of days off depending on your annual gross pay).