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Hold Your Fire

You can save your company without laying off all your employees. Try these options.

This story appears in the October 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Even if you've stumbled onto hard times, the last thing you want to do is lay off your hardworking and dedicated employees. The good news in this not-so-good economy is that layoffs are no longer your only option. Here are a few increasingly popular alternatives employers are adopting to ease the payroll burden:

  • Cut salaries. This one's a gamble: While an across-the-board salary cut can hurt morale and may cause some employees to look for greener pastures, it can also keep your company afloat. Be sure to first check any bonus or compensation agreements you've entered into with employees.
  • Offer early retirement packages. You can give people a chance to voluntarily leave your ranks, but you can't slant your retirement roster along gender, age or department lines. "Be consistent in whom you're offering early retirement to," says Jonathan Levy, an employment attorney with Fair Measures Corp. in Santa Cruz, California.

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