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- Avoiding Layoffs: Nine-Day Fortnight
Avoiding Layoffs: Nine-Day Fortnight
In 1970, the entire electronics industry was in a severe recession. Hewlett-Packard was not immune, but where other companies were implementing layoffs, Hewlett-Packard implemented the famous “nine-day fortnight” program. Workers were given a 10 percent pay reduction paired with a 10 percent workload reduction. Employees would thus only work nine full days over the course of two workweeks — a “nine-day fortnight.” As Bill Hewlett explained in this company newsletter, “The traditional way of dealing with this would simply be to lay off ten percent of the people. But I don’t feel that would be a very fair way.” Instead, he sought a solution that approached the problem as a team effort, and the collective sacrifice allowed the company to weather the recession without layoffs.
( C ) HPCA