There are times when a voluntary reduction in work hours can be beneficial to employers and employees alike. Many businesses have seasonal production or sales peaks and valleys throughout the year. By allowing employees the option of voluntary reduction in hours, a business is able to maintain the staff they need during the busy season, while lowering payroll expenses during slower seasons. Employees who accept the reduction in hours or pay benefit do so because they continue to have a steady paycheck and benefits, while using the extra time off the clock for personal work life balance.
Common in certain industries
Voluntary work reductions are typical in many industries, including manufacturing, engineering, government, and retail. In the manufacturing field, there is expensive equipment and machinery that is often kept going twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This machinery needs extensive maintenance periodically. Depending on the industry and the equipment, “shut downs” can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. This is a period when a full-time staff isn’t needed and would not be cost effective for the company. The company will ask for employees to either take vacation time during these shut downs or to choose a voluntary reduction in hours, while the maintenance is completed.
Beneficial to both
In these situations, practicing a voluntary reduction in hours can be beneficial for both employers and employees to maintain a positive work relationship. However, it’s important to note that employers must have a system for carefully documenting all work hours and adjusting wages during this temporary period, so that all employees are paid and taxed at the correct rates.