HP Asia staff asked to take a break

Hewlett-Packard Co has asked its 14,000 employees in Asia to either take a pay cut, vacation or a combination of both to help cut cost.

SINGAPORE--Hewlett-Packard Co has asked its 14,000 employees in Asia to either take a pay cut, vacation or a combination of both to help cut cost.

"This is a completely voluntary program," said HP Asia spokesperson Cecilia Pang. "Employees can opt not to participate…there won't be any consequences if they don't."

Bloomberg earlier reported that HP employees in the US will be asked to voluntarily take a 10 percent pay cut, or eight of their paid leave days, or a combination of a 5 percent pay cut and four vacation days.

The cost cutting measures are said to run from July to October this year. HP employs about 90,000 employees worldwide, with about half in California.

In a telephone interview, Pang said that its staff in Asia "will be given similar options". She declined to elaborate.

She said employees in the region would have to revert to the company by the second week of July with their decision.

"A combination of short and long term actions are now being taken on a business-by-business basis to reduce expenses and generate revenue near term, as well as to create more competitive cost structures for the long run," Pang said.

Short-term measures include "asking employees to take additional days off and travel and hiring restrictions", she said.

Stressing on the long-term measures, Pang added that these include restructuring initiatives the company had already undertaken such as "increasing management span of control, more aggressive performance management and marketing restructuring to eliminate redundancies".

In January, HP Asia Pacific said that it expects to cut less than 280 jobs from its existing 14,000 employees in the region (including Japan).

"The reductions are part of our marketing restructuring program in Asia Pacific. We expect this effort to reduce the number of positions in our marketing group," the spokesperson then said.

The layoffs in Asia Pacific followed the company's decision to reduce 2 percent of its worldwide workforce of 88,500 in January.

HP has over 10 offices across Asia Pacific including Singapore, Japan, Korea, China, India and Australia. In Singapore alone, there are about 6,000 staff, Pang noted.

The computer maker said that net revenue for Asia Pacific (including Japan) stood at US$3.6 billion, or 15 percent of its US$23.6 billion worldwide net revenues for the first half of fiscal year ended April 30, 2001.