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Juniper Pulls the Shutters

Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) told employees to take a hike this week, in what looks like a mandated week of time off.

Juniper's PR and investor relations departments couldn't be reached for comment. A receptionist at company headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., confirmed today that "most people are out, yes."

Industry sources say mandatory time off sends a mixed message. On the one hand, it can be a relatively mundane way to cut costs. On the other, it's typically a morale buster, carrying a whiff of financial desperation. The extended turkey week could put Juniper, who's last financials were humble but not terrible (see Juniper's Good News Fails to Impress), in line for some questions about its next report. It's also likely the time off will tweak the curious in light of a recent stock sale by CEO Scott Kriens (see Juniper's CEO Sells 500K Shares).

Nikos Theodosopoulos, analyst at UBS Warburg, which trades in Juniper securities, says he's aware of Juniper's situation, and he's unfazed. "I understand this is paid time off," he says. It seems Juniper plans to repeat the process in the first quarter of next year. The situation doesn't affect his forecasts or ratings on Juniper. He says he's not really familiar with the accounting reasons for taking the action.

But the technique has been used in the past as a means of quickly cutting costs. Many companies ask employees to take time off instead of carrying it over and getting a payout months or years down the road. Carrying that extra vacation time means carrying added expenses on company books -- something most firms don't want to do.

Without input from Juniper, it's impossible to get the particulars -- to ascertain whether any employees weren't given the time-off order, for instance, or whether employees without vacation time available lost pay.

Labor law doesn't shed much light on what Juniper may or may not be up to. In California, employers must allow employees to accrue vacation time year over year, though they can put a ceiling on time accrued. In Massachusetts, Juniper's other big location, disallowing accruals is perfectly legal. In both states, employers can tell their workers when to take their vacation time.

Juniper isn't the only company that's taking time off this week. Phone calls to employees at components maker Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT) indicate the company's out till Monday.

Mandatory time off isn't all that unusual, either. According to various published reports, other tech-sector companies that have mandated time off in the past include Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), and Xilinx Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX).

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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Dredgie 12/4/2012 | 9:16:34 PM
re: Juniper Pulls the Shutters I guess this is unusual only in the fact that its thanksgiving and not Christmas, as is the norm (reported previously in LR Headcount, I believe). Will be interesting to see what they do over the xmas holidays. I would think that these are only Gǣpaid holidaysGǥ if the employee has vacation time to take. If not they would have to take unpaid vacation or borrow from the following year. ThatGs where there are some immediate savings. I would think that most employeeGs vacation is shot, if they close down for xmas as well.
listen2this 12/4/2012 | 9:16:32 PM
re: Juniper Pulls the Shutters all tech companies do this.
Is this realy a story worth writing.
lightreading is becoming a joke...
papabear 12/4/2012 | 9:16:28 PM
re: Juniper Pulls the Shutters Fujitsu is doing the same thing for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you want paid use vacation time.
lite-brite 12/4/2012 | 9:16:24 PM
re: Juniper Pulls the Shutters Oooooh.....
"Fujitsu Pulls the Shutters" coming soon in LR!
l-b
BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 9:16:24 PM
re: Juniper Pulls the Shutters It is shameful act to deprive workers to force to take days off. This act becomes more obscene when the CEOs of company earn 600 times the salary of average workers. Even in start-ips the CEOs manage to sqeeze more money than the average workers. They ought ashamed of their conduct. Unfortunately the corruption in the system allows the CES to fix their own salaries, bonus, stock options and severnce pay on their own. This level of corruption hurts investors, workers, VCs and the community where business is located.

The foreign investors have lost close to eight trillion dollars as most of the stocks have lost more than 80% of their value. The system has been used to rob money from the foreign investors in broad daylight.

There are almost no punishment for white collar crimes and that is why we see a wave corruption in public and private companies. The current laws on the governance of the public and private companies.
CanMan 12/4/2012 | 9:16:19 PM
re: Juniper Pulls the Shutters Can you really make the statement that MOST tech companies do this?
I have worked for several tech companies and none of them have done forced vacation.

Has Cisco, IBM, Microsoft ever done this?

I think its more a statement of financially weak tech companies do this (which is many of them today) and I dont think should be taken lightly.

dano4677 12/4/2012 | 9:16:17 PM
re: Juniper Pulls the Shutters hmm...i might actually agree (somewhat) with bobbymax on this one...the white collar, corporate corruption component is frustrating, albeit a fact of life in most industries. my company is forcing 10 'holidays' between now and the end of march '03. i really don't think its a big deal, but a concern within our group is that this is a precursor to the RIF that will be coming. pink slip anyone? ....either way, i don't think its a good sign when a company has to force employees to get their vacation off of the books.
networking_legend 12/4/2012 | 9:16:12 PM
re: Juniper Pulls the Shutters Frightening....but I also agree with BobbbyMax on this one
capolite 12/4/2012 | 9:16:09 PM
re: Juniper Pulls the Shutters This is a non-event and non-story. Cisco did this in 2001 by mandating people take a certain amount of vacation within a quarter. Lots of companies close over Christmas. Juniper is in a tough spot and morale of those left is low. The interesting story is what their strategy for survival against Cisco will be.
gea 12/4/2012 | 9:16:08 PM
re: Juniper Pulls the Shutters "The foreign investors have lost close to eight trillion dollars"

To "Booby Speaks" fans...I swear I didn't write this or somehow hack Booby's account. He really seems to have written this, though judging from the rest of the post he may have had a little too much to drink!
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