Talk:Layoffs and Hours Reduction

From FreekiWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Overall thoughts

Possible ways to reduce hours: seniority, merit, voluntary, eliminate overlapping job functionality hours (where there's cocoordinators)

What is the over all answer? This people, let's get our behinds in gear and implement ways to bring enough funds into FG so that WE ALL have a job this time next year. Let's make this an ongoing process, not just one we use when things get tough. i.e. take action before we get financially in trouble.

And who do you think could ever do all that you do? ? ?

We would be in deep sh.. if you two decide to step down.

I think this problem should be approached from a different angle. All the positions here at FG are important, but some bring in more financial resources than others. What I think is, that we should look at programs that cost more than they bring in, and put them on hold and maybe beef up others that bring in $$$ and have potential for more.And I know where Cfork stands in this area:-) But we have to think about FG as a whole, first.Peace,

Criteria thoughts

Most importantly, we need to agree upon things where seniority and "merit" fit in as criteria (since a lot of people "out there" assume layoffs always happen be seniority, and merit means different things to different people).

If Layoffs are needed, we have to examine the structure of Free Geek first, and decide what Jobs must be filled to keep Free Geek functioning, and how many hours they require.

With that in mind, we can look at keeping, shifting, reducing hours, and possible layoffs.--Rick

I agree with both Liane and Kathie that it's far better to fix the problem before we get to the point where we need to implement layoffs or cutbacks.

But I also think we do need a policy on layoffs and cutbacks, because if we're around long enough then someday we'll have to deal with this. This policy is about layoffs and cutbacks, not how we can be more financially optimal.

The proposal makes a distinction between auditing departments, job functions, and such on the one hand, and a person's individual performance and contributions on the other. I think we could devise a criteria where

  1. Have all non-cutoff options been adequately explored?
  2. Can a staffwide wage cut solve the problem without causing unreasonable hardship for anyone?
  3. Are there volunteers willing to cut back?
  4. Is someone performing so poorly that they should bear the brunt of the cut? (ouch!)
  5. Is there a program that can be cut back or eliminated?

Each question should be evaluated independently on criteria like this:

  • If implemented does this help solve the money problem more than it hurts the overall mission?
  • In cases where we're cutting hours, how do we have to shift jobs around to cover for the hours cut?


Seniority is easy to determine.

The use of "seniority" in this police greatly concerns me. Seniority should not be a possible tie breaker, it should be first or at least, the element that keeps people off the final list of cuts. If a person has remained on the job from day one and still performs average or above, they have EARNED the right to be last on the list of layoffs. When or at what point does a person earn the right to stay with an organization? Placing seniority so low on the list sends a negative message to potential new hires. Why would I want to work for an organization for ten years, pass all my reviews with flying colors, but know that I'm still in jeopardy of losing my job should layoffs be necessary. Why?

Seniority usually denotes two main ingredients, particularly in a non profit environment, dedication to the organization and experience. Do we really want to say to our collective members that we don't care about your dedication or we don't care about your experience. Placing such a low value on seniority sends, in short, a very negative message to all old and new hires. Keep in mind placing such a low value on seniority, in cooperate American, is how they get ride of older members just before they are eligible for a pension. Do we want to follow Cooperate American or do we want to rise above them? -- Kathie

The seniority system was a protection method to prevent companies from laying off older employees as they approached retirement, to avoid paying the retirement benefits. With new laws providing vested pensions, that is no longer necessary. The problem now is that Corporations have found new legal loopholes to dump retirement plans.
The drawback to the seniority system was that it created a lot of deadwood in the company. Employees with a lot of seniority only had to do the minimum to remain employed. While loyalty should be considered, many senior employees only remain for the pay and security, not necessarily for their love of the company. It would not be right to place too much emphasis on seniority alone. Using it only as a tie breaker seems about right.
You never "earn the right" to remain by virtue of seniority. You "earn the right" to remain by continuing to make a valuable contribution to Free Geek, the longer the better. In my own case, as I become older and less able to contribute 100% to my job, I will consider stepping aside to let a more able person replace me. I would not expect Free Geek to pay me for a level of productivity that does not earn that pay, reguardless of my seniority. -- Rick
Well said Rick and thank you. I would still put seniority higher than just a tie breaker, but do fully recognize that it alone can't be considered. The org needs and each person personal performance should be concidered first. i.e. if a persons performance has visible declined, they should not be kept due to their seniority. I agree with you Rick, 100%, about stepping aside. If my performance drops below the productive level for which I'm being paid, I too will step aside. -- Kathie
and I agree with that (what Rick said), but I also don't want to start kicking people out into the streets just because they're unable to do the same amount of work as they once could -- that is not until we have a decent retirement plan that can take care of Free Geekers after retirement (but that's a long ways away). -- Richard


For merit-based, we must have some fair, hard and fast criteria; in long run, best for organization as a whole, but can cause lots of interpersonal harm (Minutes)

First, the use of the word Merit concerns me. Merit is defined as reward or punishment, which refers to people or even animals. Yet the items list before have nothing to do with either. I believe that people merit should be considered first. i.e. if a staff member hasn't been performing his/her job they should be number one on the list of layoff. Secondly, Voluntary reduction of hours is good, but what protection does it provide. If a staff members chooses to cut her/his hours and still gets laid off, why choose a reduction and lose that wage, only to be laid off anyway. (Kathie)
Actually, merit doesn't mean reward or punishment; it means ["Superior quality or worth; excellence; A quality deserving praise or approval; virtue; or Demonstrated ability or achievement"]. Deciding things based on merit would be more like our little thought-experiment with Nathan: is this person just so darn good at what they do and their talents & accomplishments so important to the survival of the organization that we'd be sunk wihtout them? However, i think this has been changed to (or subsumed in) "Job Performance Based Cuts," which i think is less objectionable and clearer in its purpose. --Ideath

Notice, final payments, and hire back clause

kathie here - there are three issues I'd like to see us consider regarding any layoffs, which I haven't heard much about yet.

  1. Providing 1 month notice to those being layed off.
  2. Including in policies a "hire back" statement or policy.
  3. Providing two checks, too cover a two month period. i.e. first check to person layed off, would be for their salary only for that pay period. The second check to be issued/paid on regular payday for the next month, will be for any vacation pay they have coming.

Item 3 above, could accomplish two tasks, provide Free Geek with a financial cushion and give the person being laid off financial custion and thus more time to look for a job.

Free Geek already has a policy regarding final payments. We can take up to 12 weeks to pay for accrued vacation hours. I think that handles item 3.
I put a notice clause in the Staff Action on the Report section.

Three thoughts from Kathie

kathie here - every thing looks good. I do have three suggestions that I'd like seriously considered.

First, the committee should consist of no less than two of the founders of Free Geek. Why, simply these people understand FG and it's goals more than anyone else and can give the most constructive feedback on needs of FG.

I think the "founders" thing could only be a temporary policy. Some day there will be no founders left and the policy should work then as well as now. rfs
kathie here - I agree the "founders" term is out of place, but the concept of at least 2 people of long standing in FG, should be included.
It now says "In determining the makeup of the committee staff members should prioritize including people with a long standing history with Free Geek and people with a working knowledge of the finances. There may be other considerations as well." rfs

Secondly, I'm concerned about a staff reduction of hours, if it means that medical/dental insurance shall be lost. What are the minimum hours needed for each staff member to maintain their insurance?

The medical/dental stuff isn't stated, but at each step the committee needs to consider the overall impact to Free Geek, so it's covered in at least that way. rfs

Lastly,we need a "hire back" policy statement. Thank you for your consideration of these suggestions.

I think the hireback statement actually belongs in the hiring policy, but we should probably state that a *temporary layoff* or hours cut is an option. I put a clause in the Report of Options and Recommendations section to address that. rfs