Furlough, Baby

Monday, May 18, 2009
Like many companies, my employer has been suffering economically during this recession. They've found it necessary to cut expenses, including a number of lay-offs* and other measures.

One of those measures is a mandatory furlough program. I don't have permission to publicly discuss the details, so I'll just say that if instituting a mandatory furlough program for all employees has the end result of saving jobs that would otherwise be lost, then I'm for it. The SmartMan and I have lots of wiggle room in our budget (we both work in telecom, after all), so it's not a huge burden for us. I am concerned about our low-wage employees, though. Most people who live just outside the poverty line don't have any room for these types of emergencies. I suppose it's better than being unemployed, though.

Since I was going to be off anyway, I decided to go on furlough this week. The Smart Twins have their graduation festivities Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and my Hot MIL and Hot Mom will be staying with us, as well. Today and tomorrow I'll be puttering around and trying to get some chores done in preparation for our house guests. One thing I will not be doing is working. While I do know some dedicated folks who will work while they're on furlough, I'm taking my employer at their word that I'm NOT SUPPOSED TO WORK WHILE I'M ON FURLOUGH.

How sad is it that the culture in corporate America is such that people feel it's necessary to perform unpaid work expressly against their company's written directive in order to keep their job?

_________________

*Attention, corporate America: They're called lay-offs. It doesn't matter what euphemism you use to describe them - force reduction, being placed "at risk," right-sizing, down-sizing, off-shoring, re-engineering, streamlining - they're lay-offs. You're not fooling anyone with your weasel-words, and using them just makes you look worse.

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11 comments:

The Mechanicky Gal said...

Oh! How I would LOVE a furlough. We jsut got another contract, so for now, the defense industry is moving right along. I fully expect that the new fiscal year will bring some changes. And if there is an opportunity for me to go part-time - I am all there.
Meanwhile, it's spend spend spend for me. Why? You may ask. And I am not sure, but it seems that athere are some projects that I can get done. Solar-power and a security system for teh estate, fabric and yarn for various crafty ideas, it's never-ending.....

Janiece Murphy said...

Amy, I've been hemorrhaging money this month, but mostly on the SmartBoy's Hooptie. No crafties for me...

Jeri said...

Crafties. Hmmmm...

I wonder if I called in sick for the WEEK if it'd be plausible?

Steve Buchheit said...

Janiece, I'm sorry to hear that. Having gone through that at the beginning of the year, it totally sucks. Helps that you and Smart Man have good incomes. For us, I'm the primary breadwinner (although that wasn't the plan).

And yes, there's a word for when companies expect/demand unpaid work during furloughs (or past regular hours). It's called "illegal."

Steve Buchheit said...

(you know, unless you're salary/exempted, and then you're screwed).

Anne C. said...

I resemble that remark, as I have, occasionally worked during a vacation day or weekend (with no overtime) if I felt like my project needed it.

Glad you have some free days to prep for houseguests! That is always nice.

Janiece Murphy said...

Steve, I am a salaried employee.

But the company communications on the required furlough are clear - no work. No returning calls, no e:mail, no nothing.

Wendy said...

Yeah, most of the local & county governments here are furloughed on Friday's now, and will be through the next fiscal year. Our mayor tried to raise some taxes, the city council objected, and the mayor said she wasn't laying off any more employees...hence the 1 day a week furloughs.

Oh, and other than minimum wage, a whole lot of employment rules do not apply to small businesses with less than three fulltime employees on the payroll.

Wendy said...

oops, forgot to add the WendyB_09 so you'd know that last post was me!

Janiece Murphy said...

You're the only "Wendy" we have - the signature really isn't necessary. :-)

Wendy said...

If there's another one o' me, we're ALL in trouble!!