From: Johnston, Eric - Modesto
Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 10:34 AM
To: MODB Everyone
Subject: Vacation plan announcement
Good morning everyone,
As we continue to manage through a very difficult economic environment, we have two main objectives - continue to identify and tap new revenue streams and maximize our expense savings plans. Everyone has worked hard to meet these objectives, but our work is far from over.
Earlier this year I announced that we might need to consider unpaid furloughs as an expense savings method. As we discussed at the Scoop meetings last week, I believe we have found a way to realize the savings WITHOUT requiring employees to take unpaid time off.
It is important to note that this program isn’t a guarantee that furloughs won’t be necessary should economic conditions deteriorate further - it is simply a way that we believe furloughs might be avoidable at this time.
We are attempting to avoid furloughs for the following reasons:
1. We recognize that asking employees to take unpaid time off is difficult during these tough economic times; and
2. Federal and state laws require exempt employees (any non-hourly employee) to take unpaid time off in full workweek increments. Hourly -or non-exempt - employees may spread the unpaid furlough hours out. This presents inequities among our staff and is difficult to schedule.
To avoid the need for a furlough we are going to implement an initiative that instead will reduce our vacation liability.
Our vacation policy allows every employee to accrue vacation time as you work through the year. Employees who don’t take vacation as it’s earned grow balances that result in a financial liability to the company. By reducing this liability, we can accomplish the same savings that a furlough would but without requiring unpaid time off.
To reduce this liability, we will be requiring that employees take all vacation time that will accrue in 2009 plus a portion of any vacation time that has been carried over from previous years. All employees will be required to participate in this program, regardless of tenure or position.
Beginning this week your manager will meet with you personally to schedule vacation time. We will give you the option of first requesting the days or weeks that work best with your plans and schedules. However, after August 1, if employees have not requested the necessary vacation time, managers will begin scheduling mandatory vacation time.
We see this as a great opportunity to manage through a difficult economic time with minimal negative impact on your household income. If you have questions about this initiative, please contact Human Resources.
Thank you very much for all you do.
Publisher & President
The Modesto Bee | modbee.com
Unpaid furloughs are a pay cut. Using up vacation time, even if mandatory, isn't a pay cut. (I'd bet the employees at other papers getting mandatory furloughs would rather have the vacation burndown.) What am I missing?
Hat tip: email (Johnston email also posted at the Bee Guild web site.)