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by Derek Loosvelt | June 04, 2009


In place of sacking thousands of employees, the Spanish banking giant BBVA recently offered many of its staff the option of taking three to five years off with 30 percent pay and a guarantee of full-time employment once their sabbaticals are over.

If you’re thinking, “Would I take that offer if it were given to me?” you’re definitely not alone, because I’ve been mulling over that very question ever since I came across this only-in-Spain one-time offer (though I haven’t yet come to my imaginary decision, I have to admit I’m leaning toward taking the 70 percent pay cut and running, for five years).

To be clear, the offer was only made to BBVA insiders who’ve been working at the bank for awhile. Newer BBVA employees were given the choice to take two years off to take care of family responsibilities or to attend classes, or to work a shortened work week with a reduced paycheck.

Although the BBVA deal is probably the most extraordinary of its kind announced recently, there have been other unorthodox offers, including British insurance giant Willis offering a one-month sabbatical during which employees receive 30 percent of their salary, and KPMG offering its U.K. employees one- to three-month sabbaticals with 30 percent pay as well as the option of taking a four-day workweek.

If you're still asking yourself if you'd take the BBVA offer or not, perhaps it's best to put aside deciding on a final answer. The odds that any of the above options will be offered by a U.S.-headquartered company are about the same that the Luv Guv will win the Stakes this weekend at Belmont Park (currently, about 20 to 1).


Filed Under: Finance

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