Saturday, March 13, 2010

Corporate Idiocy and Unpaid Vacations

The way corporations finance themselves and figure their budgets leave me unsurprised that so many fall short of their earning estimates and/or are broke.

Here is the situation at my employer, who while unnamed, could be guessed by anyone a tad knowledgeable about the industry wherein I work (and no, I'll not say what the name or industry is in this post). Over the past three or four years we have been shedding employees via layoffs, unfilled positions, etc... Last year my company forced all of us to take a one week unpaid "furlough" in each of the first two quarters. They are doing it again in the first quarter of this year.

Now, since there have been so many layoffs (10% last year, 8% the year before) we've been running on "skeleton" crews when "fully" staffed. In fact, I've had as much overtime as I have wanted last year and this to make up the short fall. In the last several months I have worked enough overtime to offset the week I'll be off with no pay - and more. In fact, when I get back I have the ability to work gobs of overtime to make up for others that are on furlough.

What sense does this make? The company is disrupting the economic schedules of all its employees just to pay them MORE when they come back. How does that save money? Let me illustrate further... Last year some of us took our furlough one day per two week pay period over five pay periods. I took mine the first week of the pay period and my co-manager took his the second week. The second week I covered his furlough day and the first week he covered my furlough day. So, both of us worked 80 full hours, except that we had one week of 48 with the accompanying 8 hours overtime (which pays time and a half) and the second week of 32 hours. The company ended up paying us each 72 hours of regular time and 4 hours of overtime. To say it another way, to have the furlough the company paid each of us the equivalent of 84 hours' pay for 80 hours' work just so they could say they saved 8 hours of pay in one week, or 40 for the quarter.

And they are doing it AGAIN this quarter. And thinking about doing it in the second quarter...

Here's another stupid thing that the company does: My co-worker broke his arm at home on his own time last year. The company has a disability plan that paid him to stay at home at full pay for the two plus months he was out. I broke my arm at work doing a job outside my job description but that was demanded to be done by my supervisor's supervisor after I told him it was too dangerous to do. The company would only pay 2/3 salary for the time I was out, and would only pay the first week I was out if I was out over two weeks. So, get hurt at home and the company will pay your entire salary while you are out, but if you are hurt at work you only get 2/3 salary and forget the first week unless you're hurt bad enough to miss serious time.

I explained the situation to my doctor and he released me back to regular duty - with the stipulation I use one arm for the better part of two months - after eight days. The doctor was flabbergasted. But that is the law here in Tennessee for Worker's Compensation. That's all they have to pay. I checked with my attorney - who was floored when I told him the situation - but after researching the law confirmed it. Which is why I told the doc to release me back to work. I'll do the job one handed - which is better than most of the others do with two - and get my full salary. I used sick leave to cover the days I was out.

To pour salt into the paycheck wound the company's insurance sent me a $41 check for the time I was out... $41. That's what a broken arm pays. I'm tempted to frame the thing instead of cashing it.

Corporate idiocy.

1 comment:

  1. I'd send that $41 back to them with a note saying that apparently they need it worse than I do.

    What a joke!


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