Just when it felt that all the large accountancy firms were only focused on shedding staff, KPMG has come out with a cunning plan. They are trying to help as many staff as possible keep their jobs by allowing them to opt for a four-day week or taking a short break from work on 30% pay.
The voluntary scheme, which has been put to the accounting firm's staff across the UK, is an attempt to stave off redundancies among its 11,000 strong workforce. Staff can choose to work four days a week or take between one and three months off work on 30% pay if asked. KPMG employees have until the first week of February to decide whether to take up the offer. An usual move for an accountancy firm perhaps, aomething more often seen in the manufacturing sector.
Georgiana Head comments 'There are 750 staff in the Leeds office of KPMG alone and this new scheme allows the firm to manage the downturn in a way which can potentially avoid job losses, the key will be how quickly they can change back to 5 days when things pick up. We have also seen another Top 20 firm offer staff interest free loans to help them take a career break – with the option of them netting it off against voluntary redundancy -if they decide to take that up in the future. I see this as a clear sign that some firms have learnt from the mistakes made in the last downturn in tax (2001 to 2003) when they shed too many staff and were unable to recruit when things picked up again. I see it as a positive attempt by firms to try and genuinely look after their staff rather than just have a knee jerk reaction towards redundancy. Obviously, individuals need to determine if they can manage their finances on reduced hours – but it at least gives them an element of choice'.