At least one company in Austin, Texas, is going to Scrooge McDuck-lengths to try and save on payroll amid the coronavirus pandemic after they sent a form to employees informing them that the company would preemptively deduct money from their paychecks based on how much they would receive from the stimulus package, KXAN reports.
“The form says they are preemptively deducting funds from our paychecks. That number is based on what they’re anticipating the government relief fund to be," a worker for the company told the Austin TV station.
The letter informed employees that by signing the form, their paychecks would be cut by 100% of any money they received under the $2 trillion stimulus bill signed by President Donald Trump on Friday. The company said it would also deduct half of the $500 check sent to those with children and dependents.
The man asked the station to not identify him or his workplace in an effort to avoid impacting the company's ability to do business.
Additionally, the company, identified as ImageNet Consulting, said in the letter that the deduction would "happen as many times as the government decides to make these types of distributions."
“The company that I work for is a national company and they make hundreds of millions of dollars in profit a year and instead of making sacrifices at the higher levels, they’re passing it on down to everybody else,” the worker added.
The company also recently laid off a quarter of its workforce, the man told KXAN. Texas is an at-will state, which means an employer can dismiss an employee for any reason (besides those protected under law, i.e. race or religion). An employee can also terminate his relationship with the employer at any time without reason or warning.
The employee said he was coming forward and speaking with the station because "if one person thought it up, it’s likely others have as well."
"So I want to make sure that there’s awareness that this could potentially happen with other businesses as well," he added.
The worker told the outlet he doesn't plan on signing the agreement, even if he loses his job over it. He says he asked his company's HR department what happens if he doesn't sign the form. He said they told him they would send an amended form out to employees over the next few days.
The company mentioned in the article, ImageNet Consulting, issued a statement about the letter sent to employees. Pat Russell, president, said his company's first concern was ensuring they could keep as many people as possible employed, "for as long as possible."
“While there was uncertainty about the federal government response, we also asked a small group of employees to reduce their compensation by an amount equal to any government support they received,” he said. “Our intentions were to serve the greater good and protect our most vulnerable employees," the statement by Russell said.
"However, we understand our plan was ill-advised. We have rescinded the potential program, and we apologize for any pain or confusion it caused," he added.
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