Monday, May 11, 2009

Lay-Ons?

Pink Slip What do you get when you take what seems to be a well-meaning employer, a major recession, and a little too much thinking outside of the box?  Another good employment law hypo.  I'll let the employer's press release lay out it's take on handling pressure to lay off employees and cut labor costs:

[W]hat these strategies don’t do is MAKE us money. That’s what Clint Greenleaf, CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, believes management should really focus on. . . .

“Cutting one person from the team is losing one invaluable resource that helps make this entire company tick,” he said. “In the short term, it’s hurting morale and lowering the productivity of a department. In the long run it means the entire company’s time and money spent trying to make up for the loss-redistributing tasks and overburdening departments, struggling to make up the slack, dealing with the paperwork, and eventually putting additional man-hours toward rehiring and retraining. And of course, the toll layoffs take on the economy are tremendous.”

The most important resource in any company is people, according to Greenleaf. Without their labor and commitment, most companies would not be successful. To that end, he’s asked his employees to institute what he calls the “lay-on” as opposed to the layoff.

“Essentially, every employee is putting in one voluntary extra hour per day at work,” he explained “One extra hour to be used in the most advantageous way possible: finishing up projects, having a meeting with a client or vendor, assisting a coworker, getting hands dirty working in another department. Even cleaning a desk or organizing files, if it helps improve efficiency.” . . .

And it’s working.  Since implementing the program in early March, company profits are up and reserves for hard times are growing.

That FLSA audit is going to hurt. 

On a more serious note, this does raise the issue of trying to put more flexibility in FLSA.  Forcing employee to "volunteer" hours is obviously a dangerous thing to legalize, but there's no question that in some workplaces, more novel schedules would benefit both employers and employees.  Whether the need for flexibility and the need to protect employees' FLSA right can be reconciled in a harder question.

Hat Tip:  Lisa Milam-Perez

-JH

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/laborprof_blog/2009/05/layons.html

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Comments

I agree with you. I'd also like to add that employees need to understand that flexible work arrangements can put them at risk for a RIF. First, there is still a widespread perception that an employee who works at home is less committed to the company. Second, work-at-home arrangements reduce flexibility. The employee will not be present at the office to solve a problem at a moment's notice. Third, if the company decides to reduce its workforce, the work-at-home employee could be viewed as "out of sight, out of mind" and therefore expendable.

Posted by: karen | Feb 12, 2014 12:50:44 AM

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