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By | John Oates 17th July 2009 09:29

HP offers EDS staff unpaid leave, cuts in hours

Inventive redundancy alternatives

HP has emailed EDS staff offering unpaid leave and temporary cuts in hours and wages in an attempt to cut costs.

Before the end of October staff can take either unpaid leave or a reduction in working hours. All breaks need to be negotiated with managers and there is a minimum take-up of five days.

Workers can either take a week off or spread their five days over the period. HP is also allowing staff to spread the subsequent pay reduction over three months - so you can take two weeks off in August, for instance, but reduce your salary in August, September and October.

Staff also get an extra day off for every five days of salary deducted time off.

The email making the offer, seen by The Register, makes clear the reductions are temporary and separate from pay cuts. But staff can, if their manager approves, take the whole of the school holidays off.

Many companies are looking for imaginative ways to cut costs. For our money, offering time off, albeit unpaid, is a more palatable technique than straightforward redundancies, but let us know what you think in comments below.

A spokeswoman for HP said:

HP needs to continue transforming its businesses and driving efficiencies across the company to ensure is remains competitive and offers customers the best possible value in the challenging economic climate.

As part of this effort, EDS, an HP Company, has offered its employees a range of voluntary reductions in work patterns for all or part of HP's remaining financial year, subject to approval, by managers.

At the end of last month we revealed that HP was asking EDS staff in Ireland to vote in favour of a paycut of either 2.5 per cent or five per cent. The company also said new joiners would not be getting a "status car" as a business perk.

Staff have until 21 July to vote for the pay cuts. Anyone interested in the Special Unpaid Leave or Part Time Working arrangement should email their manager to arrange it. ®

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