General Motors Offering Voluntary Buyouts to Expedite Cost-Saving Efforts
Workspan Daily
March 10, 2023

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, General Motors has initiated a voluntary separation program for the majority of its U.S. salaried employees to further prepare for an economic downturn.  

GM said Thursday that buyout offers were being made to all U.S. white-collar employees with at least five years at the company as of June 30, which accounts for the majority of its roughly 58,000 salaried U.S. employees, the Journal reported.  

 The Detroit company is offering lump-sum payments and other compensation to the eligible employees under the program, which  they said is aimed at accelerating its normal attrition process. 

GM didn’t specify how many employees are eligible for the buyouts or how many it expects to accept the offer. The automaker employs about 81,000 salaried workers around the world. 

GM said it expects to incur up to $1.5 billion of pretax separation charges, which would be substantially all cash-based, along with up to $300 million in pretax, noncash pension-curtailment charges.  

The buyouts are part of a broader effort GM outlined in January to cut $2 billion in costs by the end of 2024. It said it expects to realize 30% to 50% of the targeted savings this year. 

“Employees are strongly encouraged to consider the program,” GM said Thursday. “By permanently bringing down structured costs, we can improve vehicle profitability and remain nimble in an increasingly competitive market.” 

Eligible employees have until March 24 to take the offer and would need to depart the company by June 30, GM said. 

After a period of robust growth, the auto industry as a whole has signaled a contraction with recent moves, as rising interest rates are suppressing purchasing power.  

Ford Motor Co. cut about 3,000 workers last summer and signaled earlier this year that more layoffs could be coming as it tries to streamline its vehicle offerings and accelerate its own cost-cutting efforts. EV startup Rivian Automotive Inc. has initiated two rounds of layoffs within the past seven months, cutting a total of 12% of its workforce. 

U.S. Economy adds 311,000 Jobs in February  

The U.S. economy continues to outperform expectations, as 311,000 jobs were added in the month of February, according to Friday’s Department of Labor jobs report.  

The report is likely to further stoke concerns of more aggressive rate hikes from the Federal Reserve to tamp down inflation.  

Unemployment ticked up to 3.6% from 3.4% and average hourly earnings rose 0.2% for a 4.6% gain year over year. Economists had expected to see 225,000 new jobs added with the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.4%.  

Yahoo Finance reported that investors had anticipated a significant revision in January’s jobs figure, but Friday’s release showed there were 504,000 jobs created in the first month of the year, down only 13,000 from the original report.  

By industry, Friday's jobs report showed hiring remains particularly robust in the leisure & hospitality sector, as well as for retail, health care, and government jobs. 

There were 105,000 new jobs added to the leisure & hospitality sector in February, the most of any industry. These job gains were slightly higher than the 91,000 jobs created in this industry over the last six months, on average. Employment in this sector still remains 2.4% below pre-pandemic levels, the BLS noted in its report. 

British Columbia to Require Pay Transparency in Job Postings  

The Canadian province, British Columbia, is looking to help close the gender pay gap with new pay transparency legislation that will require all employers to include wage or salary ranges in all publicly advertised jobs, reports the Canadian HR Reporter

“People deserve equal pay for equal work… all employers need to be transparent about what people are being paid to close the pay gap between men and women,” said Kelli Paddon, parliamentary secretary for gender equity. “Our work doesn’t end here. We’re determined to continue our engagement with all of our partners to close the pay gap and ensure people get the fair payment they deserve.” 

The new rules will take effect Nov. 1 this year if the legislation is passed. The requirement will be introduced to different employers in stages to give them time to prepare, according to the government. 

The stages are:  

  • Nov. 1, 2023: BC Public Service Agency and Crown corporations with more than 1,000 employees (ICBC, BC Hydro, WorkSafeBC, BC Housing, BC Lottery Corporation and BC Transit) 
  • Nov. 1, 2024: all employers with 1,000 employees or more 
  • Nov. 1, 2025: all employers with 300 employees or more 
  • Nov. 1, 2026: all employers with 50 employees or more 

The B.C. legislation also prevents employers in the province from asking prospective employees for pay history information, or from punishing employees who disclose their pay to co-workers or potential job applicants. 

B.C. is also developing regulations that will provide employers with more details about how they will be required to report on the pay gap. Also, each year by June 1, the Ministry of Finance will publish an annual report that will serve as centralized reporting of gender pay in B.C. 

Employee Burnout Remains High, But Shows Signs of Improvement  

A report from Eagle Hill Consulting revealed 46% of U.S. workers say they are burned out, which is down from 49% in August 2022 and 58% in August 2020.  

Of the 1,001 employees surveyed, 52% said workload is the top source, which is up from 48% in 2022. Nearly three-fourths of workers (71%) said a four-day workweek would alleviate stress, followed by increased flexibility (66%).  

“While worker stress levels are trending downward, employers should not be complacent in addressing employee burnout,” said Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting. “Still, nearly half of the workforce reports burnout, and that is far too high for organizations that seek optimal performance and retention of their top talent. When employees are tired and stressed, you can bet they'll either underperform or look for another job.” 

Other key findings from the survey included:  

  • Most employees who report burnout (62%) feel comfortable telling their manager or employer they feel burned out. 
  • When asked how to reduce burnout, 65% cited a decreased workload, better health and wellness benefits (60%), working from home (58%), reduced administrative burdens (55%), more on-site amenities (51%), and the ability to relocate or work from multiple locations (41%). 
  • The research also signals that despite layoffs and economic turmoil, a substantial share of the workforce (30%) plans to leave their job in the next 12 months.  

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