Pay Cuts Versus Layoffs – Which Is Better?

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Despite a move by two board members to implement pay cuts for CMS staff, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board voted last night to begin the process of laying off 600 teachers. With heavy hearts, and tied-hands the board voted 6-3 to reduce the staff and cut pay for assistant principals in preparation for pending budget shortfalls.

During Tuesday’s meeting board members Kaye McGarry, Richard McElrath and Joyce Waddell wanted the board to examine pay cuts of up to 10 percent for all CMS employees rather than layoff.

They argued something is better than nothing. Other board members pointed out that pay cuts could also force people into poverty. Weighing pay cuts versus lay offs is something that doesn’t get much discussion, but let’s talk about it.

From unemployment insurance to community organizations, people who are unemployed have access to a variety of resources. If a person is unemployed it gives them more time to look for another job (there are some out there) or take classes to pursue a new career. With a pay cut, a person is forced to work full-time for a salary that may not provide a livable wage. They don’t have time to look for a better paying job or further their education.

What would you prefer? A pay cut or layoff?