‘USA Today’ Extends Wage Freeze, Orders Week-Long Furloughs

By: E&P Staff

USA Today, with its ad pages down 10.5% in the last quarter, is chopping expenses again, ordering all employees to take a week-long unpaid furlough and extending for another three months the freeze on salary increases imposed a year ago.

In a memo to employees Thursday, USA Today Publisher David Hunke said all employees must take a full week’s furlough between Feb. 28 and July 3.

“To be clear, a furlough means no one will be permitted to work while on furlough and no one will be exempt, except for business necessity,” he wrote. “That means when you are on furlough, there is no work, no office phone calls, no voice mail, no e-mail and no PDA checking. Exempt, salaried employees must take one full payroll week within the pay period. Non-exempt, hourly employees can take five days at any pre-approved time.”

The memo was first published by Jim Hopkins in his Gannett Blog.

Hunke said the one-year moratorium on pay increases that took effect Feb. 1, 2009 will be extended for a “minimum” of 90 more days.

“We will evaluate business conditions on a quarterly basis and institute a fair and equitable compensation increase plan as soon as conditions permit,” Hunke said. “This is a top priority and we will do our best to keep you well informed on our progress.”

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