Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Salary cuts are handled different in Switzerland

Agilent recently announced a 10% salary reduction for most employees. I can't find an official announcement to link to, so this will have to do. Employees in the US don't have many choices - they can either accept the cut or quit. At least that is my understanding.

Things are a bit different in Switzerland and in most of Europe. Employees have the choice on whether to accept the pay reduction or not. If they choose to participate in the pay cut, they then have another choice to make.
  • Option A: Take a 10% pay cut (work 10 days and get paid for 9)
  • Option B: Give up 2 "Work Life Vacation Days" per month. These vacation days are either days carried over from previous years or days purchased by the employee. Keep full salary.
I'm not sure if I'm going to participate or not. Like many of the employees I see a discrepancy between employees taking a 10% pay cut and executives being given a significant amount of stock options. If I choose to participate, I'm not sure if I'll do option A or B. The details on the pension contributions and taxes are still a bit unclear.

The good news, at least so far, is that Switzerland is not included in the layoffs that are occurring in Japan, Scotland, and parts of the US.

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