Keeping a Lid on Layoffs
The use of flexible pay soared during the 1990s. Companies compensated employees with bonuses and stock options. That enabled them to share the good times with workers -- while preserving their ability to slash costs in bad times by rolling back the special pay. David Lewin, a business professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, estimates that 66% of U.S. workers got variable pay last year, up from 30% a decade earlier.
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