DEAR VEXED, with all this talk of firms asking to take a pay holiday, I am worried that my boss might ask me to work for free. I can’t afford it, but I’m worried that it might be a trick to test our loyalty. Help! Jessica, 26, broker
The saying goes that there is one rule for the rich, and another for the poor. Normally that is considered to be a bad thing. But if we are talking pay holidays, then it is right and proper. It is one thing for Willie Walsh, the CEO of British Airways, to lead by example by promising to take a pay holiday for a few months. His salary is the sort that might even tempt Ronaldo to hang up his boots and get himself fitted for a grey suit. Old Willie, it is clear, would barely notice losing a month’s pay.
For the rest of us, though, who have mortgages and bills and credit-cards and bar-bills to pay, things are different. There’s a saying that you are never more than two wage-packets away from disaster, and for your employer to ask you to go half the way is totally unacceptable.
A firm that asked you to take a pay holiday would, no doubt, paint it as a noble sacrifice that both demonstrated your commitment to the firm and also help to boost its cash-flow. Phooey. It is, as they say, a flippin’ liberty. When Willie Walsh takes a cut it’s a PR stunt, and anyway he is saying that he is taking responsibility for the mess that his business is in. Your “sacrifice” would be different in two important ways. Firstly, it is unlikely that it will make the 10 o’clock news, and secondly it is unlikely that you are to blame for your company’s woes. You show your loyalty by working hard.
You are entirely within your rights to laugh in the face of anybody who asks you to work for nothing. In fact, even suggesting it shows that your boss is out of touch, if not out to lunch. Tell the deluded fools nope, nope and thrice nope. email@example.com