One of the more common responses I hear to reduced hours or flexible employment is that my job can't be changed like that. People often point to their demanding bosses and unrelenting workloads to justify the belief. I suspect that many of the people in this story about employers who have mandated reduced hours may have felt the same way.
One employer even reduced his entire office staff of 8 employees to a four day work week instead of laying off 3 employees. They are participating in a Mass. unemployment program, which we mentioned here recently, that allows these employees to receive unemployment benefits for a portion of the lost wages, netting them a 20% reduction in time on the job for a 10% reduction in pay. In my world, that sounds like a pay rate increase, at least until unemployment runs out.
The article covers the hardships to employees when their hours, and pay, are cut but ends with the silver lining of having more time to pursue other interests. How would you react to a reduction in pay if the "other interests" included the things you love to do outside of work? Could you shave your family budget by 10% to have more time to exercise? How about spend more time with your siblings, parents, or kids? Maybe take that Community Education class you've had your eye on?
Many of the ESP parents we talk with tell us that the work/life puzzle hinges on striving to optimize their life instead of maximize their income. They tend to value their careers so that they can continue to command higher pay rates over time. This allows them to vary the amount of time and energy needed to bring in the family paycheck.
Maybe the silver lining could become a fantastic life they just might love!