15/07/2009 - 11:12

Bendigo asks staff to take unpaid leave

15/07/2009 - 11:12

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Staff at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank have been asked to take 10 days unpaid leave as part of a short-term measure to reduce costs in the current economic climate.

Bendigo asks staff to take unpaid leave

Staff at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank have been asked to take 10 days unpaid leave as part of a short-term measure to reduce costs in the current economic climate.

In a statement today, the bank said it had requested staff to take the unpaid leave within the next 12 months, with the salary reduction to be spread evenly across the year.

"The scheme is voluntary, but we anticipate a strong take-up," spokesperson Owen Davies said.

The bank has around 5,000 people working at more than 400 branches across Australia.

A spokesperson told WA Business News that the 5,000 staff number included community bank employees, who are employed by the company running the branch, and therefore would not be asked to take leave.

She said staff working at Bendigo's majority owned Rural Bank will not be affected.

Bendigo's announcement follows ANZ's decision last week to shed as many as 248 full-time across the country as part of a major restructure of its mortgage lending business.

Around 40 Western Australia ANZ employees were affected.

"All businesses - not just banks - face these pressures and have responded in different ways to adjust their costs to fit uncertain revenues," Mr Davies said.

"Some have cut their services, some have reduced employee numbers, some have sent jobs offshore and others have asked their employees for their support in order to position them to grow as recovery comes.

"Bendigo and Adelaide Bank wants to be in that last category.

"Demand for our banking models, distribution channels and products is strong and we can expect renewed and vigorous growth as our funding capacity and markets recover.

"But in the short term, uncertainty remains, and we need to ensure we remain responsive and flexible to changing market conditions. In particular, we need to manage our costs according to the income we receive. "

Mr Davies added the bank preferred the unpaid option as there were huge costs associated with a redundancy program.

"That leaves companies unable to take advantage of opportunities when as things turn around. They also face costs in hiring and training new staff.

"Our program represents the next generation of thinking around managing expenses."

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