Would you volunteer to take less money to save jobs?

We’ve done stories at MPR News about layoffs and furloughs in this recession. But what about workers who voluntarily cut hours (and pay) so their organization can try to meet budget goals and avoid mandatory cuts?

That’s what they’re trying in Hennepin County. Teresa Lynch, a source in our Public Insight Network who works for the county library system, told us:

Hennepin County has asked its employees to consider making a commitment for taking 32 hours Special Leave Without Pay between now and the end of 2009. Depending on the savings to the county, we may or may not be required to take mandatory leaves. I’m knocking off 2 hours early and coming in a couple hours late on several days this summer…a few hours here and there doesn’t hurt when I get my paycheck.

It’s hard not to appreciate the shared sacrifice of people in this economy. I’d love to hear from people who are voluntarily taking less, hoping to save their jobs or those of their colleagues. Please post below or click here and tell us what you’re seeing.

The harder question: Does it work? In Hennepin County, at least, the voluntary sacrifice likely won’t be enough to stop mandatory hour cuts.

The latest data show workers pledged 15,000 hours of voluntary “special leave without pay” — a year-to-date savings of $731,000, a county spokeswoman said.

The county hoped to save $4.5 million.

Friday is the deadline for employees to submit voluntary leave forms. So unless there’s a huge rush of volunteers, the county may enforce a mandatory hour reduction.

While that won’t be as a shock, it will be a disappointment for folks like Lynch who saw the city library’s merger with the county last year as something of a safe haven:

The part that’s hard for Library employees (I am one) is that we went through all the layoffs back in 2004, and when we finally merge with Hennepin County libraries a year and a half ago, we felt somewhat safe, having been told that our Minneapolis Library budget crisis would be solved!

Check out the map below for insights from people about the current job market. Then tell us what you’re seeing or if you know of a situation where people are volunteering to get paid less to keep jobs.

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