Dear Fellow Employees,
Today our company is announcing the suspension of all annual merit increases to be effective February 1, 2009. We are not certain how long this suspension will last but are hopeful that the coming 2010 Fiscal Year operating budget will allow the suspension to be lifted. The new fiscal year begins July 1, 2009. No guarantees but that is our goal. In the meantime, all merit increases earned and due before February 1, 2009 will be processed.
Under this suspension all increases earned and due on and after February 1, will be suspended for at least five months. For example, and based on that anticipated time period, if you are due a merit increase this coming March 2009, that merit increase will be delayed five months to August 2009. If you just receive a merit increase this past December 2008, your next merit increase would be due May 2010. Your Human Resources representatives can assist with any questions or concerns you may have.
Suspending merit increases will not reduce our current expenses but it does help us contain our expenses for a period of time. So obviously more needs to be considered and implemented, if warranted. To this end we are asking everyone to share with us any suggestions you might have regarding cuts in our operating expenses that are measurable, timely and sensible; cuts that can help us avoid more layoffs and are cuts you may be willing to accept. We need your input.
Unfortunately we cannot promise there will not be layoffs in the future but we should always endeavor to do what we can to prevent as many as possible. Obviously, growing revenue is our best option but until revenue streams stabilize and grow, reducing our expenses will continue to be a painful but necessary focus. Some early suggestions have included mandatory furloughs, cuts in our vacation benefits, pay cuts (temporary and/or permanent), reduced work schedules, allowing volunteer reduction in hours while retaining most full-time benefits, and more.
No one has THE answer and no one should naively speculate what others may not be willing to do to help save a co-worker's job... even where there are no guarantees. We would be foolish not to ask for your support, ideas, focus and commitment.
Everyone needs to be engaged. We need to support each other. We can and will make a difference. Times are tough but we are tougher. Your ideas are important to all of us.
Thank you for your attention and thank you for your continuing input and loyalty.
Senior Vice President - Human Resources
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