Noted in the Arkansas Times blog, this memo from Arkansas Democrat-Gazette General Manager Paul Smith to DG staffers.
In move to avoid (or at least put off) deeper cuts, the paper asks for volunteers who agree to reduce their hours, thereby saving the paper in payroll expenses:
We would consider any employee who is willing, at least temporarily, to reduce their workdays to four days a week, reducing their hours from 40 hours a week to 32 hours a week, with compensation reduced accordingly. Health care insurance would remain in force.
Similarly, we would also consider employees who might want to voluntarily reduce their workday. For example, if some employees wanted to reduce their workday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. instead of 5:00 p.m., and reduce their workweek from 40 hours a week to 30 hours a week by doing this, we would consider such requests.
We would modify our policy so health care insurance would remain in force for those working 30 hours a week or more.
As mentioned above, these programs would be totally voluntary at this time. For employees who make these requests, which are accepted, we would consider future requests to increase hours once business has improved and is back to normal levels.
Smith goes on to note that the paper has seen “modest” cost savings from its previously announced hiring and salary freezes, and that those savings have “not large enough given the economic downturn.”
UPDATED: Gannett Co., which owns KTHV-TV, Channel 11, in Little Rock and the Baxter Bulletin in north Arkansas, is making similar moves, with staff asked to take a week off without pay. The Gannett Blog has more.