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Companies that are busy forcing contractors to take Furlough days to save millions - Is this the new normal?

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  • Sep 22nd, 2022 9:24 pm
[OP]
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Dec 23, 2003
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Companies that are busy forcing contractors to take Furlough days to save millions - Is this the new normal?

I work for one of the big banks as a contractor for the last few years. In the past, we had to ask for vacation time, and even during the Christmas holidays were not forced to take many days off. Last year, as a cost-cutting measure, they initiated a 10-day furlough (unpaid time off) that all contractors had to take. This year, they have increased this to 25 business days of unpaid time off.

My contention is that asking for time off to take a holiday is far different than being told that the company wants to save money and we won't pay you for 25 days. If it was not for Covid, I would enjoy the chance to travel and take the time off. Now in the current environment, traveling can be very stressful, difficult and could cause one to contract covid depending on where they go.

Just for clarity, there is no shortage of work and we are busy as can be. In fact, there is more work than people who can complete it. I can understand in industries like travel where the business has nose-dived and they did furloughs as a way to prevent mass layoffs. This is not the case as the bank had laid off over 5% of the workforce back in 2019.

I just wanted to know if the other banks and companies are also doing something similar.
Last edited by hightech on Jan 6th, 2022 9:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
59 replies
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Feb 12, 2006
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Its absolutely disgusting what these big corps do - every single bank had billions in profit this year and last year (some broke some records) yet they can't give their people these breaks.

Scum
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Jun 27, 2006
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desolatioN wrote: Its absolutely disgusting what these big corps do - every single bank had billions in profit this year and last year (some broke some records) yet they can't give their people these breaks.
Agree but the execs need to make their bonus and consultant fees is just one cost that they can more easily reduce. Sure, it may slow down the work as the OP mentioned but work is still being done so all good from a corporate prospective.

25 days of billing is a lot but that is the trade-off that must be made as there is always work with the banks.
[OP]
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Jon Lai wrote: So what is the reason for the furlough requests if there are more work than people? Something's not adding up.
Cost savings of $30 Million and extra bonuses for execs.
Jr. Member
Oct 22, 2020
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I work in the automotive industry and on the manufacturing / facilities side it is usual to have maintenance shutdowns for say two weeks a year. Some people are obviously working that time on maintenance and upgrades. For the rest, if you have vacation time, you can use them to maintain your pay. Otherwise you are on leave without pay. What was unusual last year was that the non-manufacturing side also had one week of downtime.
[OP]
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kelaaa wrote: I work in the automotive industry and on the manufacturing / facilities side it is usual to have maintenance shutdowns for say two weeks a year. Some people are obviously working that time on maintenance and upgrades. For the rest, if you have vacation time, you can use them to maintain your pay. Otherwise you are on leave without pay. What was unusual last year was that the non-manufacturing side also had one week of downtime.
That is understandable as there are maintenance windows. My situation is that companies have ample work to do, and not enough hours in a day to complete it, yet they are forcing contractors to take time off due to cost savings.
Jr. Member
Oct 22, 2020
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hightech wrote: My situation is that companies have ample work to do, and not enough hours in a day to complete it, yet they are forcing contractors to take time off due to cost savings.
My company had 1 week forced downtime for non-manufacturing divisions in 2020. None this year so far.
Deal Addict
Sep 30, 2011
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It is just another way to squeeze
Honestly, Xmas time was usually less busy and people are not in mood to make progress in work, particularly their partner, client etc are in idle mode too.
It is a holiday season but also season for employer to fire before Xmas and also suspend contractors, so hire them back when the season is over.

Yes, large Corp. have more money in pandemic than before, and little T4 slaves pay for this, this is the always enshrined law in Canada, I don't know why it surprise you.
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Sep 30, 2011
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Jon Lai wrote: That doesn't make sense, the work still needs to be done.
In large corp like a bank, nobody really know who's working for what for how long.
It is a routine for Bank to hire contractors to supplement workforce, so they can flex the wage cost up and down depends on situation; it is easier for their budget team to approve hiring, now from top executive command was each department simply layoff 10 days in Xmas season and see who's crying. It is called conflict management - if everyone has happy face, the company won't make money.
If there is really urgent work to do, like X filing must be done or there will be Y penalty, then people won't be let go; so now the executive team don't have to know who's doing what, but they already save money, easy fruit.

So it is another SQUEEZE, there will be more squeeze now than good old days. It is just general trend in decline of life quality, economy and social value across the West world.
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Jan 1, 2017
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Many of banks have policies that if a contractor has worked for them for 2 years they need to take a break for 1-3 months from working for the bank. This is done for a few different reasons (risk, fraud management, etc) and none of these are budget related.
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ProductGuy wrote: Many of banks have policies that if a contractor has worked for them for 2 years they need to take a break for 1-3 months from working for the bank. This is done for a few different reasons (risk, fraud management, etc) and none of these are budget related.
This is because of tax, employer got CRA question on why the person is not employee if constantly work for them?
If no answer, the income tax deduction and CPP notice are on the way.
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Aug 31, 2017
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Sorry to hear that. The company I work for is offering more paid lieu days, and I see other companies like Manulife doing the same. It looks like it's for all employees, so cannot comment on contractor vs. full-time.
[OP]
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ProductGuy wrote: Many of banks have policies that if a contractor has worked for them for 2 years they need to take a break for 1-3 months from working for the bank. This is done for a few different reasons (risk, fraud management, etc) and none of these are budget related.
Only if you the contractor is hired by the bank. Most contractors are hired via agencies who get a cut and the contractor can work for years for any clients.
Sr. Member
Feb 19, 2017
854 posts
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desolatioN wrote: Its absolutely disgusting what these big corps do - every single bank had billions in profit this year and last year (some broke some records) yet they can't give their people these breaks.

Scum
Contractors are mercenaries for hire. Employers owe them nothing.

On the other hand, corporations owe it to investors to maximize profit legally
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Nov 27, 2007
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It is only a concern if fulltime employees, contractors are non issue, they should get rid of the contractors are hire fulltime to save money
[OP]
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Walch1102 wrote: Contractors are mercenaries for hire. Employers owe them nothing.

On the other hand, corporations owe it to investors to maximize profit legally
I dunno about that. People think we make the big bucks but the full-time make more $$ and our agencies take a good chunk of money.
Sr. Member
Feb 19, 2017
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hightech wrote: I dunno about that. People think we make the big bucks but the full-time make more $$ and our agencies take a good chunk of money.
If your skill set is in demand and critical to the business, they would have tried to convert you. Since they haven't, it means you really just provide a commodity service in their eyes (no material difference between you and the other guy they could hire).

Makes sense they would cut your hours first, especially since they have no obligation to guarantee you work (you're not an employee) and they have profit targets to hit. Just reality.
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