Page last updated at 22:26 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

KPMG to offer staff shorter week

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Staff at KPMG are the latest to be affected by the credit crunch

Staff at accounting and consulting giant KPMG have been told they can save their jobs by working a four-day week or taking a short break on 30% pay.

The firm is attempting to stave off redundancies among its 11,000 strong workforce.

A spokesman said it was impossible to rule out job cuts in the future but the offer was on a voluntary basis.

Staff have until the first week of February to decide whether to take up the offer.

KPMG has offices in 22 locations in the UK, including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Plymouth and Cambridge.

Those who agreed to a sabbatical would take between one and three months off on 30% of their salary.

A KPMG spokesman confirmed the offer and said: "We are mindful of the difficult conditions that everyone is operating in."

He added: "This move gives us some flexibility to manage the workforce.

"It helps us to avoid the need of making any redundancies."

A redundancy programme can lead to problems when the upturn eventually arrives
David Knight

The company is the latest to be affected by the credit crunch - despite being called in as an administrator to assist other firms with their financial problems.

Earlier this month, in an article written for the BBC News website, KPMG associate partner David Knight warned of the pitfalls of sacking staff.

He wrote: "Redundancies can sometimes be seen as a quick fix as employment costs often represent a significant slice of a company's operating overheads."

But he warned: "A redundancy programme can lead to problems when the upturn eventually arrives."

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