back to article Intel offers Irish staff a three-month break from being paid

Chipmaker Intel is offering staff in Ireland the opportunity to take three months' leave from their jobs, with the catch being that it is unpaid. The move is part of cost saving measures at the company. According to various reports in the Irish media, thousands of workers at Intel's manufacturing plant in Leixlip, County …

  1. OhForF' Silver badge

    Are the employees allowed to work for other companies during that unpaid break and do they have some guarantee to be employed by intel for some specified time after those three voluntary break months?

    If not that's not really much of an offer, firing someone is giving them as much unpaid break time as they want (or even more if they are unable to find the next job quick enough).

    1. Ken G Silver badge

      We were obviously typing the same thing at the same time.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      > were offered three months' voluntary unpaid leave

      They should be grateful for this generous offer! How many companies allow you to take unpaid leave! All of them? Oh.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "All of them? Oh."

        Nope. My (MD here) boring little firm still pays staff for leave as usual and all the rest. We are so boring that we ensure we have salary bill x2 + VAT and business rates (quarterly) bill in the bank plus a bit more.

        I'm so boring that I get to sleep at night and so do my staff.

        We also own our premises. So boring. The mortgage is now L2V about 30%. We are working out when we pay it off out of the bank whilst maintaining cashflow - probably 2024. So boring.

        Business mortgages seem to be rather rubbish compared to retail consumer and the banks seem to see businesses as a fucking cash cow. They seem to leech on and suck really, really hard.

        We were quoted 4.5% over base rate plus costs (quite a lot of them) at first blush. OK so we'll get two banks involved and see what happens.

        We are still dreadfully boring but still trading.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A brand new move brought to you by HR

      It's one way to reduce your staff without having to pay severance.....

  2. Ken G Silver badge

    Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time?

    Unemployment in Ireland is at a 20 year low, these are largely skilled and experienced people, 3 months contracting would be a nice earner if Intel doesn't exclude that or have some anti-competitive clause in their contracts (which I know is unenforceable in Irish law, but could matter if they go back to work for Intel).

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time?

      Is there an alternative employer to Intel in Ireland that could accommodate such niche skills?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time?

        >employer to Intel in Ireland that could accommodate such niche skills

        But Ireland is under the boot of a ruthless Brussels bureaucracy - so all those workers can also work in Netherlands, or Germany, or France or wherever Intel/TSMC etc build their fabs.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time?

          Unemployment is even lower in the UK

          Depends on the sector - one area where there has been an increase in the unemployment/unemployable count has been with Prime Ministers and Chancellor of the Exchequer - much greater than the natural rate of churn for the sector.

        2. Justthefacts Silver badge

          Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time

          You’re double-counting. EU was under the impression that it had spent $42bn CHIPS act money on opening *new* fabs with job opportunities. Whereas what *actually* happened is that there will be the same total number of EU fabs as before, same number of jobs as before, but EU has paid for an equipment refurb. Plus some literal moving of bricks from one pile to another, in this case from Ireland to Germany. Which is exactly what all the people in the industry, who have seen this all play out several times before, told you would happen.

          And since most of that equipment was manufactured by EU firms, particularly ASML, all the EU money has gone on converting what would have been EU exports, to not-exports. Bravo!

          1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

            Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time

            What exports?

            Anytime someone wants to export chip-making tools to a place outside the USA, the US government says you'll get sanctions...

            1. Justthefacts Silver badge

              Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time


              Global annual capex for semiconductor fabs is about $190bn, of which 80%+ is in APAC (mostly Taiwan and Korea). About 70% of that capex is advanced tools machinery, and 70% of the most complex highest priced stuff comes from Europe. Multiply up, is $75bn annual exports of advanced tools from EU to APAC.

              Since DUV steppers are being manufactured as fast as anyone knows how to, every single one installed in an EU factory represents no more than the EU taxpayer having to *subsidise* pay for it, rather than getting paid full market value by a willing buyer in Taiwan.

              Try asking people who actually work in the industry, rather than blanket believing the nationalist hype.

            2. Steve Todd

              Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time

              Erm, you do know that the leading manufacturer of chip making tools, ASML, is a European company? Also the biggest user of said kit is TSMC, based in Taiwan.

    2. Peter D

      Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time?

      Unemployment is even lower in the UK. It makes you wonder how Spain, Italy and Spain can be so different.

      1. bregister

        Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time?

        I've often wondered about that, I saw 25% (twenty five not two point five) "youth" unemployment figure for Spain for example.

        Thats a lot.

        Could the statistics be wrong or differently classified?

        I thought Eurostat had clear rules on this kind of thing.

        On the main point of the story, how long before the employee pays the employer to work somewhere?!

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time?

          >Could the statistics be wrong or differently classified?

          Spain + Greece are typically 2x Eu average 12% vs 6% unemployment. If they use unemployment payment stats then it could also be biased by how easy it is to claim unemployment in those countries.

          Add in seasonal unemployment for low-skilled tourism jobs + the last couple of years of tourism downturn.

          I don't know how big an effect it is but - I'm making a terribly chauvinistic assumption that a lot of Spanish/Greek STEM graduates and semiconductor process PhDs aren't working in Spain/Greece but in other Eu countries. So youth unemployment, when you remove all the skilled youth, is going to look high.

          1. Stork Silver badge

            Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time?

            Absolutely, my son who graduates next year from Lisbon expects to go working elsewhere to earn real money

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time?

          A good way to reduce employment statistics is to exclude people from those statistics.

          For the stats, "The unemployed are people of working age who are without work, are available for work, and have taken specific steps to find work.". By tweaking these steps enough, you can make a lot of people without work not counted.

          Another tweak is to create many part-time jobs. Somebody having such a job may not have enough money to live, but at least this part-time worker isn't counted as unemployed. They are just "underemployed", and it's another category.

          == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time?

            That's why the stats for Spain and UK might not tell quite the same story - it depends on the rules for claims.

            The unemployment rate in Canada typically tracks 1.5% above the USA, just because of the different rules in claims

            For the youth unemployment there is also a bias because youth are mobile.

            I come from a town oop'North that can charitably be described as a shit-hole, so like everyone else with 2 O'levels to rub together I left.

            This means that youth unemployment there is incredibly high - just because they are effectively only counting people with no qualification. People from there, but working in London don't count for their unemployment.

            1. Stork Silver badge

              Re: Are they allowed pursue other paid employment during that time?

              Also, there is a higher proportion of young people in the informal sector, partly because it is difficult to become permanent with southern European employment protection

  3. druck Silver badge

    Intel's generosity is literally startless.

    1. OhForF' Silver badge

      While it's not much of an offer kudos to them for at least trying to come up with a way to keep people instead of firing them as fast as possible.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        > a way to keep people instead of firing them

        Well, that only helps Intel, not the people who surprisingly will still need to feed their families and pay their mortgages.

        "Unrequested unpaid leave" and "unemployment" must sound pretty identical to the victims, and the fact that Intel hopes not losing their skills in case they eventually need them again doesn't change anything I think. Fired or not, they will need to find a new job all the same (and I wish them to find a better one).

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Yeah, Intel shifting the cost of workers onto the State. If Intel aren't paying them, then they are unemployed, whether still under contract or not.

          I suppose a lot depends on how the offer works in practice. Maybe those better off, higher skilled, higher paid, can afford to work a 3 or 4 day week rather than taking 3 months off all in one go. Or are Intel planning on a 3 month shutdown? It's only voluntary if the workers can choose when to take the unpaid time off so I assume they are basically offering them 90 days unpaid "holiday" to be taken when convenient. I also assume Intel will be retaining the right to refuse too, for operational reasons. There's no point in running a shift if half the staff are missing, or key staff are missing such that the production line can't run.

      2. Snowy Silver badge

        Also cheaper, no redundancy to pay and no recruitment cost when you want them back.

    2. TVU Silver badge

      Something is going very wrong with Intel when they start to deploy dubious employment practices that would normally be associated with the likes of Oracle and IBM.

      1. Peter D

        Temporary layoffs aren’t a new thing.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          No, but it's not normally a signal for your best staff to stick around

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Temporary layoffs aren’t a new thing."

          ... and they never are temporary. it's layoffs and that's that: It's time to look for new job, right now.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re associated with the likes of Oracle and IBM.

        If you mean giving their CEO's mega pay raises then yes.

        The Irish government should look at removing any tax incentives that they give Intel and reduce them by the amount that Intel would be paying their staff that are on this 3-month sabbatical.

        F'k Intel. Carry on painting yourself into the corner of obsolescence.

  4. Oglethorpe

    Surely, the Irish government has some say over this, given the taxpayer funding they've generously allocated through the years? It seems like that should come with attached conditions.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      They don't care. If they cared about the tax payer they would've gone after Apple and the billions they owed the country.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: going after Apple

        Has Apple given the same ultimatum to its employees? If they had it would be worldwide news.

        Apple is a scumbag company but they don't operate in this way (AFAIK).

        What Apple has done in the last two years, is to show that Intel has lost the plot when it comes to energy efficient CPU design. Intel's latest baby has AFAIK, a TLDP of over 300w. If Apple went mad and put out a M2-SuperMax with 32 high-performance CPU cores and more than 128GB of RAM i.e. XRON Country, Intel stock would drop like a stone.

        Wait a minute... perhaps Apple should do that and then they could pick up Intel in a fire-sale. Then they could have the fabs to make their own CPU's.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: re: going after Apple

          Apple don’t manufacture. They contract it out. But do often change suppliers. So they’re more of a cause of lay-offs by other people.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Don't worry, employees will pay all this funding back in their taxes*

      * one day

      1. Brian 3

        ... when that amount will barely buy you a coffee.

    3. oiseau

      ... given the taxpayer funding they've generously allocated through the years?

      I was about to say the very same thing.

      If I recall correctly, in the last 20 years Ireland has given Intel (and others?) absolutely huge tax breaks and incentives.

      And this is what they get back?

      Undoubtedly a cautionary tale to all other countries who think it is safe to make Faustian deals.


      1. Curious

        The Irish Dept of Finance says that corporation tax receipts in 2022 Jan to November end has risen by €7.6 billion to €21.1 billion compared to November 2021.

        That's what the Irish people are getting back. With pros and cons. Most of the cons are either self inflicted or the usual market forces when a multibillion dollar blob is dropped into a small city.

        Not exactly Faustian, it's a deal with the corporate accountants and tax lawyers.

        1. oiseau

          Not exactly Faustian ...

          Hmmm ...

          I beg to differ.

          Any sort of deal involving corporate beancounters and tax lawyers is, by definition, a Faustian deal.


          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            It's a carefully worked out deal on both sides.

            Ireland to US company: put your HQ in Erin's green valleys, we speak English (sort of), your CEO/Chairman thinks he's Irish and we'll make a fuss over him, we're politically stable and we won't charge any tax and make sure that our regulatory agencies are accommodatingly ineffectual

            Ireland to voters: it will bring jobs, we get income tax, it will boost house prices and if we didn't do this they would setup shop in Luxembourg. Plus all the sales they make in Britain will get billed here so we're fscking the English

  5. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    So all at once or piecemeal?

    So does this have to be taken all at once, or could it be done piecemeal? Rather than taking off 3 months in a row (25% of the year), I'd be tempted to shift to 4 day work weeks (20% of the time taken off), leaving 5% (about 2.5 weeks) left over to take as unpaid vacation.

    Of course, that depends on how good the pay is. If that 25% paycut for 25% less hours means you're not going to make ends meet, obviously it makes sense to go look for work elsewhere. And some may wish to do so anyway.

  6. steviebuk Silver badge

    Yeah right

    "part of push to reduce costs"

    Don't they mean

    "part of a push to make the share holders more profits"

  7. DrXym

    The theory being...

    ... the staff will almost certainly come back from their break and Intel saves some money. Whereas if they laid off these staff it would cost Intel money and they'd be lost to their competitors. I expect this sort of thing will happen for the recession - companies reluctant to get rid of staff they'll need again 12 months' time.

  8. Ashto5

    The Bosses ?

    Will the bosses be taking unpaid leave ?

    Or will they still rake in their 6 or 7 figure salaries ?

    But hey you there mr cleaner we cannot afford your £9per hr fees


    Must be totally ucked up to promote this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Bosses ?

      This sounds like a very stressful time for the executive team. I worry that they may not be being compensated adequately for the extra stress, especially the feelings of personal inadequacy that must inevitably follow from having fewer peons.

  9. pimppetgaeghsr

    Maybe they should start trimming that is collecting around the middle.

  10. jonfr

    Billion dollar companies always acting they are going broke

    Why do billion dollar companies act they are getting broke when their profit is not 1000% more than last month. This is nonsense and I hope people fight this.

  11. Lordrobot

    Creative Unemployment

    Intel to the Irishman explaining Voluntary non-paid leave... "Nile, how would you like to hang out at the bar for the next six months... second drink is on us..."

    "We'll call the bar when we need you..."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "These plans are part of a massive reduction in spending, with Intel looking slash $3 billion annually starting next year and by between $8 billion and $10 billion by 2025."

    While raking already 52 billions from US government and whining about 30 billions more (through mouthpiece but that's irrelevant). Proper thieves and 'unpaid vacations' are very illegal in EU.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pat: That Jim is a crafty guy. Went into the boss saying he was unhappy with 3 months without pay. Told him to offer something better.

    Mick: How so?

    Pat: Boss offered him 6 months instead.

    Mick: Jesus and Mary, what a deal!

  14. Phil Kingston

    "Retaining our manufacturing talent is a key element of positioning Intel for long-term growth. Voluntary time-off programs allow us an opportunity to reduce short-term costs and offer employees attractive time off options," the statement continued.

    Wait, what?

    Doesn't that basically say "We value our staff. But not enough to pay them properly"?

    And as for offering "attractive time off options", I'd be spitting feathers. Attractive for who? Should that be "whom", idk.

  15. an.other_tech

    Sounds a lot like Musk's Twitter debacle

    Intel, once a world leader, looks to reduce costs by 'allowing' staff to take unpaid leave....

    Well, we've all seen what happens when you try and cut back on staff. They go elsewhere to find a paycheck!

    Musk thought he'd be fine by treating his staff appaulingly, and the instability caused something like a 90% reduction in ad income plus Apple pulling it from their app store.

    If Intel think they can do the same, maybe it's time to buy shares in AMD ?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Intel inside

    Workers outside

  17. Old Man Ted

    Bean counters

    This should apply to all the MBA's who inhabit highly remunerated positions ( MBA stands for Masters of Bugger All) These parasites infest the accounting and management positions having replaced the productive employees who made, designed and or contributed to their employers. Highly paid parasites abound in so-called management positions. It is no wonder that bean counter abound in organisations which have falling revenues and profits. Once they were call clerks and were on the lowest rungs of the pay scales. Engineers designers process workers are the guts of any organisations, a bean counters do not contribute to the profit of any one organisation. They rely on all the other employees and as with all parasites the suck the blood out of their hosts.

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