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Hold Your Fire

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

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

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

  • Cut salaries. Thisone's a gamble: While an across-the-board salary cut can hurtmorale and may cause some employees to look for greener pastures,it can also keep your company afloat. Be sure to first check anybonus or compensation agreements you've entered into withemployees.
  • Offer early retirementpackages. You can give people a chance to voluntarilyleave your ranks, but you can't slant your retirement rosteralong gender, age or department lines. "Be consistent in whomyou're offering early retirement to," says Jonathan Levy,an employment attorney with Fair Measures Corp. in Santa Cruz,California.

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