Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/02/21/micro_oft_to_sack_temp/

Micro$oft to sack temp workers after one year

Letting them hang around and sue you is just too expensive, apparently

By Thomas C Greene

Posted in Business, 21st February 2000 15:48 GMT

Microsoft has replied to criticism that it exploits temporary workers by employing them for years -- making them virtual permanent workers -- while denying them the benefits associated with a permanent position. This so-called 'permatemp' status saves the obscenely wealthy software giant millions in fringe-benefit costs each year. Microsoft's solution, announced last week, is one Scrooge himself would admire: the company will now sack its temporary workers after one year of service, and require them to wait 100 days before being re-hired. The new policy is scheduled to take effect on 1 July. The company's previous practice of stringing temps along for years has been challenged in lawsuits filed by long-term temporary workers seeking regular benefits. Microsoft lost one case to a decision enabling temporary workers to buy company shares at the 15 percent discount enjoyed by staff. A second suit seeking medical and retirement benefits is currently pending. The new policy will indeed indemnify the company against further claims that it exploits its temps; but it will also have the ironic effect of decreasing the number of experienced casual workers it employs, while simultaneously reducing their economic benefits and job security. A lose/lose situation if we ever saw one. And you thought those Redmond boys were such a lot of cutting-edge geniuses. ®