Voluntary cuts: Hennepin County meets its savings goal

Hennepin County asked its workers this spring to cut hours voluntarily and take less pay to help close a budget gap. Looks like that’s paid off.

County officials say about 3,900 workers, about half its workforce, agreed to take Special Leave Without Pay through the end of the year, generating roughly $4 million in savings. That’s about 105,000 hours off the books between July and December.

Together with some other scheduled unpaid leave, the county met its goal of $4.5 million in savings without ordering hourly cuts.

We’ve been watching the county’s effort as part of a wider discussion about cutting expenses voluntarily at work. Cynics might scoff but it strikes me as a noble effort.

The county expects to continue the voluntary hour cuts. With future budget struggles looming, it’s not clear that will be enough to stop mandatory reductions. But so far…

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 voluntarily cutting costs or take less pay to keep jobs — and what response you’ve received from management.

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