City looks into furlough program - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Crystal Oko

City looks into furlough program

ROCHESTER, MN (KTTC-DT) -- It's the latest trend in our struggling economy, unpaid time off, also known as furloughs.

Furloughs have been reported in nearly every sector of the job market, and now the city of Rochester is looking into enacting its own program.

A recent survey shows that one in five companies have asked or plan to ask workers to take a voluntary furlough, making furloughs more and more common to working Americans.

Olmsted County began it's furlough program last month, asking all employees, even Olmsted County deputies to take one unpaid day off every month.

"We're trying to do our part, hopefully it works, and if it doesn't we'll look at other options," said Mike Bromberg of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office.

Now the city is looking into starting it's own program.

"We're on the very front end stages of having conversations with our staff about a furlough program. In fact we've introduced a couple different concepts for 2009 and 2010. So at this point there's been several conversations with the employee audiences about the furlough option," said Linda Hillenbrand, City of Rochester Human Resource Director.

Nothing has been formalized and there are many details that still need to be worked out. Hillenbrand says, though, that employees seem receptive to the idea.

Furloughs have even affected us here at KTTC. We've taken 5 days of furlough in the first quarter of this year.

"It's something that's not uncommon because of the economic climate," said Hillenbrand.

An economic climate where unemployment is climbing while businesses are just trying to hold on remembering that every penny counts.

Hillenbrand says the furlough program would allow the city of Rochester to continue giving it's employees their raises for 2009, while giving the city some much needed money.


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