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January 01, 2000
Over and Out for Overtime?
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economic downturn has many firms slashing overtime and work hours, leaving more employees with dwindling paychecks, according to USA Today

Some employees are finding their work hours reduced, while others are toiling in part-time jobs when they'd rather work full-time, the newspaper reports. It gives these examples of companies cutting back:

  • Verizon is reducing OT hours worked as part of a broader effort to cut costs through attrition and by limiting use of contractors. The company tells USA Today that it expects to save $2 billion a year by the end of 2003.

    "Most employees realize overtime is not something you should count on," says Verizon spokesman Peter Thonis. "It is, by definition, something that is not planned. The slowing of demand makes overtime less necessary."

  • Ford Motor is cutting back on overtime and shift work and carrying out such other cost-cutting measures as a slowdown in hiring, voluntary separations, and a reduction in the overall capacity of some plants.

    "We have cut overtime at our plants from last year quite dramatically," says Anne Marie Gattari, corporate news manager.

  • At San Francisco-based law firm Brobeck Phleger & Harrison, partners and associates can opt to work only a few days a week, or they can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Both programs are voluntary. The firm had sought to reduce costs earlier by reducing overtime.

    Says firm spokesman Allan Whitescarver: "These programs reduce our short-term costs but keep our talent long term."

    Certainly, some employees prefer the shortened workweeks or reduction in overtime. But it's still a financial loss for an increasing number of employees getting smaller paychecks, USA Today says.

    Nearly 40 percent of companies plan to reduce overtime during the next 12 months, according to a June study by Financial Executives International, an advocacy group for corporate financial management, and Duke University. And the number of employees who are working part time due to economic reasons jumped from 3.2 million in March to 3.5 million in July, according to the Department of Labor.

    To view the USA Today story, click here.
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