Downtime Is Not a " Downer"
Does your company's workload have seasonal fluctuations? Lancaster Laboratories, an analytical services company in Lancaster, Pa., has developed an alternative to seasonal layoffs. Lancaster has an environmental division whose business is slow from January through March, when winter conditions make it difficult to take water and soil samples. Instead of laying off workers, the company has a formal arrangement with a local temp agency to provide about a dozen affected employees with work in the off months. The employees work for the agency but stay on Lancaster's payroll and keep their benefits. Lancaster Laboratories, which had 1998 sales of $40 million, gets back most of the costs from the temp agency. "It's worth it because of the cost of training new people," says Carol Hess, Lancaster's executive vice president of administrative services. "In 37 years, we've never laid anyone off for lack of work."