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June 17th, 2009
07:47 AM ET

Would You Work for Free?

British Airways is asking its employees to work for free. The company offered workers one to four weeks of unpaid leave - with the option of working during that time, if they want.

Last month, British Airways posted an annual loss of $656 million. (For the full story on click here.)

Desperate times do call for desperate measures. Would you work for free? If so, for how long?

Post your comments below.

Filed under: Heidi Collins • Tony Harris
soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Larry

    Is management working for free?

    What is their annual compensation, bonuses included?

    People who make multimillion dollar salaries of course have the assets to take a month without pay. Not the same for people who punch clocks or otherwise live from paycheck to paycheck.

    What got the airlines in this mess? A I'm looking for more than high fuel prices.

    June 17, 2009 at 8:32 am |
  2. Bob in Seattle

    Absolutely, I'd work for free.... NOT!

    June 17, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  3. Chadwick W

    In theory it sounds nice, but in these tough economic times how can you afford not to work? I would begin looking for another job if my employer suggested this.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  4. B.A

    I think its unrealistic and unfair. Would they let us fly for free? How do they expect their employees to survive? This has me shaking my head in disbelief.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  5. Cody Melville

    I would do it. If it saves your job to not be payed one month out of the year it would be worth it. Jobs are so hard to go by that one month is way better than nothing at all. Someone like me who enjoys work and supports my job, I would work wthout pay if need be.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  6. Joe

    The ironic thing is everyone that posts a comment is working for free because you're using this to take up airtime instead of reporting real news.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  7. Kristina G

    What a crock! I'm glad I always use Virgin when flying to England!!! Brit Airways can't ask that of employees, and employees shouldn't have to work for free to keep their job!

    June 17, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  8. Christina Cromeyer

    I just got my BS from Boston University and the only job I found is an unpaid 3 month internship. Of course I took it. Hopefully the experience will help me get a paid job when this ends.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  9. Kyle

    Are you kidding me! Tell them to give out a month of free flights to everyone!

    June 17, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  10. Jerome

    I would work for free. The way things in the economy are today, as long as I had a job, I could manage some money to last 4 weeks.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  11. CaliGuy

    Of course not!! How could any be expected to work for free in these tough times?? Maybe the executives of British Airways should work for free until they turn the company around!

    June 17, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  12. Capt. John Wampler

    I work for free 4 months our of the year – because the Federal government taxes me on my earn income. If Obama gets his way, the work for free rules will increase to 7 months out of the year.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  13. Donna Ashmore

    NO!! Typical that a huge corporate giant like BA asks it's rank and file to go without pay for a month. What about their executives? Are they willing to give anything up? I'M SURE THE ANSWER TO THAT IS AN UNEQUIVOCAL NO!

    June 17, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  14. Phillip Josaphat

    "NO" i would never work for free. This is a classical example of modern exploitation-slavery

    June 17, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  15. Kevin

    It's an understandable request, but it isn't a reasonable one. People expect compensation for their work - it's that simple.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  16. Rob

    No. I'd spend that time looking for another job. Employers aren't likely to appreciate an employee's willingness to work for free. They're more likely to see it as an act of desperation and see if they can push it from one month to two months, or even three.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  17. Steve A

    The problem is that those who cannot afford to go without a paycheck may be ostracized by co-workers who can. Would that be fair? British Airways is a company responsible for my safety; the last thing I would want as a consumer is tension in the workplace affecting staff performance.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  18. Ray

    It would depend on whether I could trust the company to have my long-term interest in mind. If so then yes.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  19. Bob Suvak

    Since I had my job "eliminated", I would have prefered to have been able to keep my job.

    Not only would I gladly give up one months salary to keep my job, I would work free for a month to prove myself at another company to get a job.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  20. Butler Senior High School Summer School

    Some comments from the students:

    "They have financial that they cannot meet. It's unreasonable for the company to expect that. No, we couldn't work for free."

    "People may quit just because they are being asked to work for free. I'd quit."

    "I would do it for one month, if I got paid eventually for that time. At least I'd still have a job."

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  21. Izzy

    Hell no!! Let the CEO etc work for free , They can afford it for years vs the regular working person. Let them go out of bussiness.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  22. Nick

    I would in exchange for a guarantee of long term employment, if i am loyal to them in their hard time it seems a fair tradeoff

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  23. Mort

    If I was working a job that I really like, had good seniority and working conditions, I would definitely work for free for 4 weeks. It would be tough, but consider the alternative of having to look for another job, the time, the effort, and having to start all over again somewhere new. Also, if you're over 40 I think you're disadvantaged of finding a job with a salary close to what you're making now.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  24. m4k2004

    There is no way I would work for free. I mean I might would come and check in if I were gone for an extended period of time, but to actually take unpaid leave, have my family suffer the financial loss, and then still not spend that time with them? I do not even think so and I think British Airways is being a bit presumptitious to assume anyone would want to do this. Go ahead and lay them off, at least then they can get some kind of assistance. If they are just "furloughed" or have to take extra time off, then they are getting no kind of help...NONE.....ridiculous. People already having a hard enough time trying to make it without employers insulting us even further by asking us to spend the gas and lunch money to work, yet not getpaid. I call this BS.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  25. Mark

    Why are the labor groups of the airlines always being asked to give, give, give? As a flight attendant, if my company asked me to take a month of unpaid leave, I'd take it, but I can assure you that it would not be spent working for free!! Are the management groups going to come to work for free for month? Aren't there drug tests for those people in the ivory tower?

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  26. Terrel

    This is a interesting question that I initially thought, "hell no". However, once I thought about it I then decided that maybe I would if the alternative was to be unemployed. But I would want to know that my company has cut back on all other spending for things that were not necessary or essential to the operation of the business. This means cutting back on advertising, donations to organizations, golf sponsorships, etc.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  27. Tristam Lynch

    Great idea people should be willing to volunteer without pay and just be thankful for a job!

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  28. Susan Connolly

    Absolutely I would work one month for free to save my job, just think about it, one month without pay is always better then 12, 18, or 24 months looking for a job and perhaps if you are lucky enough to find a job at the end of that time you may be working for less money.........I say go for it. save your job, the company will appreciate it and you will feel better.

    Susan Connolly

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  29. V. Vaughn

    I'd work for free temporarily to protect my job only if administrators took the same percentage of pay cut. Plus, they'd have to also forego any bonuses. Management + unions have been ripping off the airlines for decades.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  30. prasu

    Most of the employees live from paycheck to paycheck. I would propose British Airways to cut executives salary first and pay them based on performance or give them stock.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  31. Aaron

    So if this was my company would I do this?? Maybe.... If it helped keep my job it would be something worth thinking about, however are the CEO's and "higher up" people willing to do the same thing? Are they willing to do the same thing for a longer period since they make obviously more money then those who hand out bags of peanuts, and half cans of soda...

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  32. Ron West

    why should i work for free ? tha CEO gets the bunus when things are rosy . i dont !

    its the ceo that put us in this mess , let them suffer the agony of defeat

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  33. John

    You can't expect workers to come into work during their unpaid leave.
    Just because British Airways posted a $656 million loss, that's no reason to expect employees to work for free.
    Lost time on leave shouldn't be used to work for no pay.
    The audacity of BA stuns me.
    Games like these are dangerous for big companies to play.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  34. Ian

    It seems to me that in a situation like this employees have no choice other than to work for free. By publicly saying that they hope employees will work for free during their "leaves" in order to protect their jobs, British Airways is actually telling them to work if they want to keep their jobs. It's really sickening – instead the company should at least be honest enough to come out and admit they are cutting salaries.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  35. Mike Cooney

    It does sound unrealistic, however since the UK unemployment rate is the highest in 12 years I think it wouldn't hurt to give it a shot. Seems like the higher ups are trying to think outside the box and challenge the status quo. We'll see.
    Tampa, Florida

    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  36. Cabell

    If my employer were asking me to work one month free to save my job, what is to prevent them from doing it again. No, I believe in a days work for a days pay. – CAbell VA

    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  37. Ivan

    So why doesn't BA's corporate team (Boyle, Coby, McCarthy, etc.) work for free for a month instead? Or two? Heck, a year....Why is it that the ones that make the millions are the last in line when it comes to making sacrifices "in the interest of the company"?

    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  38. Debbie

    I would be willing to work at my company for up to a month if that's what it would take to avoid layoffs. In my company there have been many cuts in employee benefits but no layoffs as of yet. We are trying to weather the storm together by everyone taking a slight hit. I much prefer this method over some people losing there job entirely.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  39. K. Cole

    Hi Heidi,
    No matter how loyal employees are, if the company is in trouble, they will lay people off or make cuts.

    If I worked for BA and I was in financial difficulty, could I expect British Airways to give me 4 weeks paid time off?


    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  40. Gary Seitz

    Work for free? Do it all the time these days. In the case of British Airways employees, I would say to take the deal. Next time, they may not have a choice. Unions will have no say when/if bankruptcy becomes an issue, nor will any employees. Of course, it would be difficult to work into the monthly budget if no money came in even for 30 days. Only 30 days. In the scheme of things, things could be much worse.

    Gary Seitz

    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  41. old hickory

    i would not. when company's are prosperous would they share an extra month's salary of their profit to me?

    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  42. CJ

    I worked for my company for over 4 months while on furlough, then for 6 months at half pay. Why, because I needed my company to survive. I am now back on full pay, and while it was a difficult time, I have no regrets, considering the alternatives. There needs to be more mutual loyalty on the part of both employers and employees.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  43. Dayal

    Yes, I would work for a month for free to safe my job.
    It is a lose-win situation, but it is better than losing your job period.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  44. Ke Wilford

    The New York City Department union contract for Captains and Assistant Deputy Wardens require that each rank work three days a year for free.
    They categorize it as an additional Tour of Duty. (3) days a year that a tour is included after you have completed a tour.

    If I had I would rather break it up the thirty (30) days, as oppose to (1) month at a time.

    Desperate times, requires desperate measures.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  45. Shane Browne

    It all depends on my relationship that I have with my job, If the atmosphere was inviting and I am positive that their will be a reward or an advantage to continue working for my company free for one month, I will definately consider the option

    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  46. don gattin

    not no and not hell no but a Big fat HELL (F understood) no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  47. Kara Frazier

    I would most definitely work for free in these economic times being greatful for the job itself but it would improve my morale if I became part of a profiting sharing bonus plan, or built in financial incentive plan in other words Working together for a common goal.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  48. Ethan

    Its is crazy for British Airways to expect its employees to work for free. Many workers go to work to make money to pay bills. I don't think that there are any employees that would stand for this at any other job, so I can't see that British Airways employees would stand for this. No matter how troubled the company is if it expects its employees to work, they should expect to pay their employees.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  49. Corey

    Having a working plan might pan out better. Have people working shifts of pay/non-pay weeks. those could be broken up in 2 week increments. On there weeks off they could work a second job.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  50. jeannette

    No, it's another ploy for the top dog to continue making huge paychecks while the underdog suffers and pays for it all. It opens up a can of worms for other companies to follow suite thus taking advantage of the working poor.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  51. Adam

    Heidi, you could, and keep your job. But is a month without pay better than looking for a job somewhere else? I'm thinking if the economy is this bad that your asking your employees to do this, go get a bailout from the gov't like your buddies over at GM!

    June 17, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  52. Phillip Josaphat

    Would British airway pay their employees for one month w/ouit working, if yes i would consider it. if no absolutely not.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  53. Jeff Montre

    I think that the possibility of saving your job in the economy that we are facing now might be a plus to work for free, but will the bill collectors let you skip paying your bills for a month?

    Realistically it might be a semi-good idea, but it would not work in the market today. The companies that bill us on a monthly basis don't care that you don't have any income, they want their money.

    I would have to find an income for myself and my family. Family is the main concern over free labor.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  54. lisa mosier

    yes i would to save my job and my company. we all have to work together to try to get out of this mess. i never thought i would see our economy get as bad as it was in the 20s. greed is how we got here, we need to learn from it.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  55. lynn

    The employees should take turns, each 'working free' for a week. If everyone took part it would be more fair. And yes I would do something like that to hopefully save my job and the company.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  56. KateM_in_NM

    I think people who enjoy their jobs and recognize the necessity of their presence as an employee to keep their employing company viable would certainly make them realize that if they don't work for free their company is less likely to remain in business.

    Basically this means British Airways employees should realize that their presence as workers- paid or not- is necessary for British Airways to stay in business. If they want jobs at all they may need to work for free for this period.

    Would I work for free? If I enjoyed my job and the company I worked for then I would. Jobs are hard to come by in this economy.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  57. Jennifer in Winnipeg

    The employees on the lower pay scale shouldn't even be asked that question. They could not survive without a month's pay. Why don't the CEO's, et al, give up their paychecks and bonuses for a month ... that would a much bigger 'help' in getting the company under control. But, of course, these guys at the top wouldn't think of giving up anything they receive .... greed is the name of the game.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  58. Jeni

    Resurgence of slavery in the 21st century? I can't see how that is a solution.

    Should employees take unpaid leave, they are unable to do anything beyond the basic essentials. So the local economies of the airline workers will also take a big hit because no one will be spending money. That, in turn, can be extrapolated to imports/exports and ultimately the global economy will be affected.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  59. Karen

    I agree with Larry, these companies that are losing millions of dollars need to look at what management gets paid.
    If the managers worked for free for a month or two the company would save even more money!!!

    Some people pay their bills every two weeks and depend on that cheque to purchase groceries and keep a roof over their head.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  60. Richard

    I would work for free. Though I am just 17, I really like serving people and making them happy, plus I'm not really looking for a permanent job because I travel a lot in the summer time. Plus being a teenager in these times are a little tough as far as jobs go. So maybe getting a job that is free now, shows an employer you’ve got guts, so when the economy recovers, they’ll pay you more than others for your hard work. (what a run-on)

    June 17, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  61. David

    The answer to this question would depend entirely on the situation. If the company I was employed by was a supportive, positive workplace that valued it's employee's and showed it through actions, strategy, culture and vision then I'd certainly entertain the idea, provided I could afford to do it.

    With that said, many companies today seem to be using the tough economic times as an excuse to cut benefits, demand more work for not only less pay, but less corporate loyalty. B/c so many of those in the work force are concerned with the economy it seems that quite a few companies are seizing this increase in 'leverage' over the employee that they are sacrificing the long term relationship that will ultimately lead to the success of these very companies during and after the current economic times.

    Had this question been posed to me several years ago I would have said "yes" emphatically, however while I'm still employed at the same job the recent changes in the goals, vision and culture have completely changed my opinion. I wouldn't work a single day without pay, much less a month.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  62. Johan

    I work with a Caribbean airline and about 6 years ago or so we gave up a months salary and it made no difference.I don't believe that it will help.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  63. Doreen Baca

    If you are asked to work for free, there should be a company "work for free Executive matching program". Every company Executive should match employee's with the number of days worked without pay.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  64. Don B

    No, not for an airline.
    These large airlines have been mismanaging themselves for years and they want the employee to bail them out.
    Ask the guys they pay the most to help out, the excutive staff.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  65. Roger Parker-Russellville,KY

    Would I work for an airlines for 30 days free!

    I would look and think very seriously at the loss of $$$$ that the
    airlines lost and to be honest with you, NO. It is not to say that the
    airlines may even take a deeper plunge later and the work force
    working free for thirty days to save their jobs could also dip into
    their accounts checking and savings be drained not to say that if
    they have children and they drained their accounts, it could be

    June 17, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  66. DAVID in San Antonio

    I would absolutely work for 1 Month free under 1 condition. They would have to guarantee my job for at least 12 months thereafter. If they could not guarantee that, then i would negotiate at least 6 months salary if a layoff was absolutely necessary. The way i look at it is I can either go unpaid for 1 month or get fired with no pay. You do the math. 1 month vacation! WHOOOO HOOOO! But this is coming from someone who has enough saving to live comfortable for almost 1 year. I can absolutely see why anyone in a financial bind would not agree.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  67. marc

    Personally I would not work for free for such a long period of time. I do think that there may be two options here, first of all, the board members could accept a "small" pay cut, therefore allowing the employees to keep their jobs; or this four week dry season if I may call it so, could be split two. Again, a month with no pay could put the employees in debt and financially hurt them and their families. All options should be considered before anything is decided.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  68. cathy

    with the economy the way that it is. do you really think that creditors would understand what is happening,
    would British Airways give the mony back with interest. seriously, does anyone do anything for nothing.
    I think they need to come up wih another plan.
    I thought the ceo's were suppose to be the rocket scientists

    June 17, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  69. John Showalter

    Not just no, but HECK NO!!! I would suggest that highly compensated executives dip into their deep pockets and pay all salaries for a month, though. Funny how the money guys always want the little guy to bite the bullet for the 'good of the company', so they can continue the status quo. Disgusting.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  70. Paul

    After working 16 years in the mortgage industry as a loan officer on a commission only basis, I recently landed a salary position 3 months ago. The reason I was hired was that the hiring manager liked my enthusiasm when I offered to work for free for a month. In that scenario, its a win/win situation for all parties. The hiring company gets a 30 day risk free trial basis for a potential employee, while I can a get a chance to demonstrate my skills and my abilities. I got the job without working for free for 30 days. It was worth the risk in todays economy.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  71. David

    I think they should not accept. If they do, other employers would ask the same thing from their workers, it would be a dangerous precendent. Where it would stop? This kind of thing should be illegal.

    David, Canada

    June 17, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  72. Sara Alkhalili

    Of course I would work for free! If it means saving my job, I will do everything I can to do so, and this is a 15 year old speaking.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  73. Jeff P. (Linesville Pa.)

    Most certainly I would. But giving my generous free work/labor, in support of my company, I would hope that "My" company I am supporting, WILL the following month return the same generosity by doubling my pay, to help recover my loses and hardships my family and I will surly endure for a month of zero income.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  74. John From St. Louis

    Working for free is not as much the question for employees as is the question," could they afford to work for free". In todays economy many families finances are stretched too thin to consider such a demand. Consideration may be more palatable for this situation if it were spread perhaps over a year or more and if there were compensation considerations in place to repay employees for their sacrifice.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  75. Chuck Matheson

    First of all is this really going to save the company and my job or is it just going to postpone the inevitable?? Secondly, is ALL of management going to work a month without pay as well?? Are they going to give up all their perks for a month as well as there salary?? If the answer to the above questions is yes then I think if I had the means to go a whole month without a paycheck then yes, I would be willing to do so if it meant keeping my job, assuming that I really liked my job in the first place. I think in todays rough times too many people expect too much from their employer and they are not willing to make any sacrifices themselves. Today it seems that people are more selfish than they used to be, more about themselves, what's in it for me rather than what can I do to help the overall game plan. In some ways though, I can understand that to some degree because employer to employee loyalty has eroded over time to where we are now which is there is no loyalty on either side. I do however believe that the lack of loyalty started with the employer trying to make more and more money, boosting their bottom line at the cost of the employee.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  76. John Slocum

    Of course, I would work for free.

    As a 45 year old small business owner, I have had to be creative in previous bad times. We are in a travel related business and after the 9/11 attacks our business dropped 92%. We did a whole series of things including transferring people to partners in Canada, Spain and Guatemala for "training". We paid them substantially less but they got to travel and worked remotely from abroad. For others we cut hours and introduced telecommuting and increased vacation all to cut payroll.

    We managed to avoid laying anyone off. Everyone got something and we cut almost 35% of our payroll, oh yeah, I worked for free for 8 months. Small business owners always work for free in bad times..

    June 17, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  77. Tommie T

    No, I would not work for free. The only time I would work for free is when th shareholders and executives of the same company would also work for free at the same time. So I would most likely would take the vacation for free.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  78. jose

    If my boss does it, I'll do it!!!!
    And by the way, the only reason for me to reply to this question is, Heidi you look great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hermosa!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 17, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  79. Stella

    With these economic times, I can't say I'm suprised that companies like this are not able to pay their employees. So many people with their own businesses are struggling to make ends meet and people ARE working for free in order to help keep these businesses going. It's a hard time for all businesses but if you are loyal to your employeer and have invested time in the company, you stick it out and hope that it gets better. My husband is in the same situation. Thank goodness we have employees that are emotionally invested in our company. If we didn't have these wonderful people we would be out of business. My husband doesn't take a paycheck and we are struggling to make ends meet, but this economy won't last forever. Things will get better.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  80. Jo

    The British Airways corporation is proposing an unethical and dishonest offer to people who are already in fear of being unemployed. Why would they expect that people would work for nothing?? That is slavery!!!
    My husband has taken a 50% salary reduction from his republian employer who is trying to stay in business on the backs of his employees..I think this is also unethical.
    All work should be paid for. If it isn't...then it is slavery!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Promising that you will have a job in a month??
    What kind of lie is that?

    June 17, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  81. Mario


    June 17, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  82. Lyle

    I probably would not work for a month for free....I would use the time wisely by updateing my resume and getting out in the job market. As for those wo would, wouldn't you think the quality of work during that time would faulter greatly? Heidi, hope you're not traveling during that month. I'm sure the experience will not be pleasant.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  83. Mike U.

    I would be willing to work for free, only if every other employee in the company, including the CEO, was willing to as well. Question though, why is it always the employee who is asked to sacerfice financial to save the company, when it is the management that drove them to that point?

    June 17, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  84. tony

    That is really not a simple question. Depending on the economic conditions in that part of the world and the positions of the person in the organizations. Now if I really love my job and could make it without a months pay and the company was good to me I would take 1 for the team for sure!

    June 17, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  85. Uptin Saiidi

    Isn't it illegal for companies to have employees but not pay them? Even as a college intern, I wasn't allowed to work unless I could prove I was getting internship credit from my school.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  86. Frank S.

    I might work for free for a month if I worked for a small, family business, but I absolutely would NOT work for free for a global corporation! The front line employees are the ones that make the company work in day-to-day operations. If the staff could afford to pay their bills for a month, without pay, they probably would not need the job in the first place.

    Management is charged with the responsibility to guide the financial path of the company. If they have to ask their employees to work for free, then they have failed the shareholders AND the employees...They should work for free until the company is back in the black or they should be fired!

    June 17, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  87. gloria lewis

    These companys dont kid yourself this is already happing everywhere in the usa its just not reported .What i dont get in when they make their profit they do not give the employes a few dollars to say thank you ,we never hear about the profits of the companys .Yet they are quick to tell the employees about the loss .Please the same way we gave the sarah palin story such air time .Lets stay on this story and help people right here that are dealing with this .

    June 17, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  88. Mike

    As a career Firefighter who gets paid twice
    a month I would work for free, to save my job,
    it's the big picture I look at no doubt about it.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  89. C Bar

    When I heard the question being asked I thought surely it would be a low cost struggling airline I was shocked to hear that it was British Airways asking such a foolish question.British Airways is an airline that cares only about themselves not the employee and to ask the employees such a question disgusts me.At Bristish Airways you already do the job of more than one employee now you are asking them to do it without pay?Me personally I would need to have some gurantees like 1)Paid carfare when I do come in.2)Lunch provided.3}A gurantee that at the end of the month leave I would retain my position and seniority and be guranteed my job and to never be asked such a foolish question again by the company.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  90. EZ Mesa

    Absolutely not! Massive financial bailouts of banks, auto makers, and other financial institutions; billions of taxpayer dollars spent; executive pay off the charts; the worst mortgage crisis in our nation's history, and a company has the audacity to ask the little guy to shoulder more of the burden, reckless and absurd!

    June 17, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  91. Damon

    Would I work for FREE? You have to look at the story here...British Airways are offering workers one to four weeks unpaid leave with the option of working during that time. Key words 'offering' and 'option'. Those of us working paycheck to paycheck would most probably opt out. Those of us who may be able to handle a week without pay may take the time off, opting out to work probably, realizing that we have to do something to help because we're all in this recession together. I doubt anyone would take a 4-week hiatus.

    P.S. Heidi it's not even funny how gorgeous you are....WOW!!!

    June 17, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  92. Danny

    When an employee becomes ill BA gives them time off, with pay, to recover. The airline is now ill and it's only fair the employee gives the company time to recover. It would show the employee has as much concern for the employer as the employer has for them.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  93. Jose A

    i f the managment also work for free..

    June 17, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  94. Kevin Hubert

    Never, if you give alittle they will take and take,

    June 17, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  95. Captian J

    Sarah, Heidi, and Tony got on a plane for a trip to Paris only to find out that thier crew were voulenteers...MMMMMM...One could only wonder if if that plane would even get in the air much less be safe...If you want to give your time do it building a house with Clark Howard and Robin Meade for the habitat for humanity, you'll have more fun...

    June 17, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  96. Andrew Lenzmeier

    I would most certainly work for a month to keep my job, especially in this recession...

    But British Airways most definitely does NOT have the right to demand or even "suggest" that its employees submit to slavery to save their jobs.

    What British Airways is doing is NOT legal under English law.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  97. bruce

    I already do work for free. The state of Delaware took away social worker overtime(except emergencies) in January and expects the work to be done with no financial compensation. Welcome to the prison planet, new slave state, corporate one world order, or whatever you want to call this entity that needs to be abandoned. Revolution won't work. The police state/prison camp vision has been calculated out to the Nth degree. It s vital that folk envision and wish and want a completely different kind of life, driven true freedom.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  98. Jonathan Lynch

    Heidi, I work for Federal Loan Modification, in Irvine CA where after several weeks of being issued paychecks that bounced, the vast majority of employees have not been paid in more than six weeks. Just like British Airways, we are being asked to come in to preserve our jobs, yet we are getting nothing for it. A few months ago, FedMod employed around 900 individuals. There are now about 20. Two of the original partners left a third one holding the bag while they open a new company. I do not understand how this can happen. These individuals made poor business choices and as a result, many lives are being ruined. Homes are being lost, not to mention lost cars, utility shut offs and an abundance of late fees. How can you claim to be sucessful in modifying mortgages when your own workers are being foreslosed upon and cannot pay for basic needs? We have been told by the Labor Board that all clients must be refunded before any employees will be paid their back wages. how can this be? Why is our story getting no attention? Please, please cover this story.

    Thank you,
    Jonathan Lynch

    June 17, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  99. Christopher Reid

    What jurisdiction does British Airways have fior making such an offer and will its customers support such a move or boycott British Airways .

    June 17, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  100. Ruby P

    Yes I would work a month for free to try and help keep my job.I have done that before in a sewing factory about 20 years ago and we didn't have it easy ,but I thought it was right to try and help my boss stay afloat.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  101. Lou Heck

    Back in the 1980's, accounting firms in NYC attempted to get a system where new hires would work for 6 months for free to get a job. It didn't wofk because it is a violation of the 13th Amendnebt:

    Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    Section 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


    The IRS also reguards working for free as a tax doge, while the warker may not realize income, the company does recieve a benifit that is considered income.

    The reason British Airways is in trouble because of bad management. Thinking up a plan that has been tried and failed, and will cost more than any monies saved is a primary example of this bad management.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  102. Becky

    Unfortunately, I know people that would work for FOOD at this point in the economy. A couple of years ago, I'd likely have said NO but being unemployed (due to layoff) for almost 18 months now, if I HAD a job and were asked to work a month for free, I'd likely say YES but ONLY IF it was the determining factor of whether or not I'd KEEP my job; however, I feel that if this were the case, EVERY employee should be required to do so, including MANAGEMENT/CEO's, whom I'm sure could afford to do it much more than the blue-collar workers could...our bills will go on for that month and how are we going to pay them? That's the REAL question here.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  103. Larry

    The only way I would is if they made me. Even then they wouldn't get much out of me. I would come in late, leave early, take 3 hour lunches. They would pay me again after a week.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  104. Sue Collins

    To work for free or not is the question! It would be ok as long as I had my bills current. What if you don't have a spouse/partner to pick up the slack? Currently I am not working, because of the summer break from the schools. I have a spouse that finally got a permanent job after being laid off. Every penny counts these days. What about after the month, are they keeping the same pay rates for the workers? What about those that are single and have bills to pay? The bills can only wait so long to get paid. How do you explain to the companies you can't pay for a month? Thanks for your news stories.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  105. Kim M. L.

    If it was an ideal way of getting my foot in the door to a permanent position, yes I would take a pay cut for a month...

    June 17, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  106. Oliver

    I not only would do it, I am doing it for my wife and her job, I drive a shuttle van at aChrysler Dealership, 3 day a week for free and I have been doing it for about 7 months as well as work my own job....You got to do what you got to do to keep the company going. Sometimes you must give to get.....

    June 17, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  107. Jeff P.

    If only the plantation owners so many years ago had thought of this. It is a cheaper solution than slavery; no need to house, clothe, provide health services, and feed these "slaves." Just sell them on the idea that they can volunteer their time to enhance corporate wealth.

    Are there any depths to which corporate America will not sink?

    June 17, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  108. Joel Cordeiro

    Would I work for free? I might, but it depends if the fat cats have given anything up. It really bothers me when the people at the top want to keep the regular employees at the bottom and when they have good times, they just throw us crumbs and keep the dessert for themselves. It is never equal with corporations and you really have to keep an open eye up the ladder at all times.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  109. frank

    $656 million loss in one month, I don't think so, salary isn't the only problem. Work for free one month and get laid off or furloughed later. Get real! Its time for change in upper management.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  110. Lisa

    Under my current financial situation: @!*% NO. I can't afford to work free for a week much less an entire month. Large companies still don't get it. I think most people wouldn't have money to pay for basic necessities like food and shelter. What type of quality service does management really think would be attached to this? I have a better idea. Let the CEO and all other upper management staff work without pay for a month while. Let them truly lead the company and model working for free.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  111. Susan McKelvey

    The Bible says, "A laborer is worthy of his wages." It is not only unfair to ask workers to work for nothing, but it is equally wrong and despicable for an employer to pay a worker an unjust, poverty level wage. A worker deserves a "livable" wage.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  112. Wallace

    Would these workers receive any type of unemployment compensation? If not, I wouldn't do it. It seems that all companies want to start job cuts at the bottom with the people they really can't do without. Management salaries are usually at least 3 times that of the people they really need. Ask them to take a paycut, and see how they respond.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  113. Susan McKelvey

    June 17th, 2009 10:04 am ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    The Bible says, “A laborer is worthy of his wages.” It is not only unfair to ask workers to work for nothing, but it is equally wrong and despicable for an employer to pay a worker an unjust, poverty level wage. A worker deserves a “livable” wage.

    CNN, I don't know what "Your comment is awaiting moderation" means. If you do not use my comment verbatim, you may not use it.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  114. Ken Hamlin

    There are too many unknown variables to say whether or not I would do that as an employee of British Airways, or for any other company for that matter. My concern would be as a customer of that company as it relates to safety. Granted some employees are professionals and will perform appropriately under any circumstance, but there are some who are solely motivated by the money. If they work for free, just to save their job, will their attention to detail in critical areas be at the proper level?

    June 17, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  115. Tony

    I have to ask the same question Larry, the first post, asked: What about management, will they also be working for free? And if they do what will be the financial impact on them, will it equal the losses that their employees will feel?

    It seems to me that the upper class continually screws things up and then puts the blame and responsibility on the middle and lower class. All the while suffering very little, their version of struggling is still better off than our daily lives.

    It's time for a working class revolution.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  116. Ricky

    I dont think that what british airways should make a move like that, because people want to earn money to pay for their homes and family.
    And they will probloby go on a vacation

    June 17, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  117. Jamie Hanley

    We already are. At the beginning of the year it was mandated that all employees, excluding senior management, take 1 week per quarter unpaid leave if absence, The irony of it is that is yet to be established whom "senior management" is; so once again its the productive worker bees taking the hit!

    June 17, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  118. Trampy

    Im afraid a lot of us crew are already working without pay.

    I havent a had a whole months work for 3 months now, so have lost already over half my salary.

    I will not work for free , as seriously cant afford to, will my mortgage company put my mortgage on hold till i earn my money again or my utility bills, will the garage fill my car up with fuel for free so i can get to work to work for nothing. NO.
    Management at BA have seriously lost the plot and need to go.
    They are raking in loads of money in their pockets every month.
    They are not leaidng by example i assure you.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  119. Corey - Kansas City

    I would probably work for free to save my job; however, I would be concerned about liability issues if something devasting were to occur on the job that preventing me from working further. Would the company still be liable if I was not officially working and/or being paid at the time?

    June 17, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  120. Ricky

    I say no

    June 17, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  121. Yvan

    I will never work for a company for free, if they can't afford my wages then its time to work for another company. Beside its cheap to ask employee to work for free, they should close their doors permanent.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  122. Raymond Wood

    Raymond Wood
    Would I work for free? NO!! One's ability to work for free is directly proportional to the amount of disposable income available to the worker.
    I don't have any 🙂

    I think it's the mayor of New York who works for $1.00 a year. The man is a billionaire so he's really working for nothing. What's he going to do with a dollar?

    June 17, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  123. V

    I ask the same question as Larry, are the company executives working free? I don't think so!

    Enough is enough they always want the working class too give. They need to understand the country is in a crisis mood and all because of THEIR greed.

    As a working class American I vote for company executives to take a 40% cut in salaries.
    Lets not forget the bonuses a 60% cut.

    This countries economy is a combination of haves and have-nots. Fact is the majority of us are in the have-not category.

    Ex AIG employee

    June 17, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  124. Jonathan Lynch

    I forgot to mention that a select few employees are being paid. Is this not discriminatioin? I am sure the execs at British Airways are being paid too.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  125. Nate Franklin

    If I truly like my job, I would have no problem donating maybe one or two days a month. But workig for free, is illegal. Besides, it takes money for gas to get to and from work. I would rather take a reduced salary, since thats what British Airway is really asking.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  126. Christopher Reid

    Maybe they should offer their employees get out of jail for free cards while their at it what is British Airways a monopoly game, their employees need to feed their children pay ortgages pay for transportation to and from work they are asking for them to work not for free but at a loss to an employee's income .Are these same employees eligible for unemployment benefits

    June 17, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  127. Ellery in Idaho


    June 17, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  128. David

    Hmm I kind of have been for a couple years aleady. I guess my "employer" is a charity case. Or I am, probably I am.

    More to the point, I'd think about it. Benefits would continue and they're hard to get if you have to get a new job.

    Re conv w Gerri Willis
    Those fees are kind of like when a restaurant arbitrarily sandwiches in a number on the check to boost that amount for a dinner.

    It would be great to talk to a human being about my financial. I'd love that.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  129. Jimmy Whitfield

    Loosing a month of work does not have to be a disastor, it can be rewarding. If the airline would schedule each of the employees targeted for the four week layoff, one week at the end aof a twelve week work period, could be rewarding for everyone.

    One could actually plan vacations, functions with their families, and other important things that can be scheduled in this manner.

    It could actually be one of the best things the Airline can do, without causing a meltdown.

    Jim Whitfield
    Kent, Ohio

    June 17, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  130. Christopher Reid

    Maybe they should offer their employees get out of jail for free cards while their at it what is British Airways a monopoly game, their employees need to feed their children pay mortgages pay for transportation to and from work they are asking for them to work not for free but at a loss to an employee's income .Are these same employees eligible for unemployment benefits

    June 17, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  131. Christel

    UMMMM Nope sorry. How am I supposed to pay my bills and feed my family if I am the sole breadwinner and am working for free for a month. Now if My spouse was working and could cover everything then yes I would but I think that is a little much to ask to work for nothing

    June 17, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  132. Leora

    I would work for a company for free, if they gave me their product for free.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  133. Dwight

    Sure, once my creditors agree to wait.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  134. Kobi

    How is this different, to companies here in the USA telling employees that they have to go on Furlough? All the major air craft companies here in Wichita are implementing a furlough of some kind or another – they can use holiday if they have any left if not its unpaid.

    UK Citizen living and working in USA.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  135. Al

    What do you have to lose? You could end up without a job one way or the other. Take a chance

    June 17, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  136. Cheri

    For a lrg Corp like this probably wouldn't. I'd take my vacation immediately and try to find something that pays. But for a small Co or a Mom & Pop I'd do all I could with the understanding that I'd be job hunting while working for them for free.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  137. Frank Kristy

    No company can make a gurantee about employment or they would have seen the huge looses coming that they have reported. Stay on the payroll your going to need the unemployment benifits

    June 17, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  138. Mohamed Gawad

    Yes if every employee from the top down participates, Thanks

    June 17, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  139. nancy

    In 1978 I worked for one year for no pay, as an apprentice to a jewelry designer. The experience became the foundation to my career in the business. People today are so shortsighted to think working for free is not valuable. It is a better education than a year in college. I did get my BA degree also though.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  140. Loida

    I believe that if I was asked to not work and pretty much search for a job that's going to pay less. And then hope that they rehire me in the future. But if that was the case, Id start building my resume, and searching Craigs list!

    June 17, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  141. roshell

    NO WAY!! The company has other options. They could reduce the hours of the employees or reduce the level of service. These ideas could help balance the company.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  142. Joe

    I would, not out of loyalty to my company, but because I love what I do (Roughneck on a drilling rig). I work for a great company that has strong history of taking care of it's people. That being said just because you stick by them does not mean they wont sell or merge and the new company wont give a flying s*** about your loyalty. the bottom line is unless you are willing to chalk your "free work" up as a total loss and be fine with that you should look for work else where.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  143. Ken

    I wouldn't work for free for any company. I worked for a major 'Chicago' airline. I went through numerous pay and benefit cuts. They even took our pensions away. Then, when it came time for the most recent layoffs, the vast majority of the people who were let go were the very same veteran employees who had made the sacrifices to keep the company going. Meanwhile, they kept, and still hire new college grads.

    Even if British Airways say's you are protecting jobs by working a month for free, they will always do what's best for them, regardless of the sacrifices employees endure.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  144. Lillie

    Well let's see – if they want to provide food, clothing a shelter for us –
    To address a comment made "Loosing a month of work does not have to be a disastor " – REALLY CONSIDERING I AM ONE MONTH FROM BEING HOMELESS having had a great career, and now I have to resort to trying for the same jobs that teeny boopers are applying for – GET REAL! REWARDING – WHAT PLANET DO U LIVE ON!

    June 17, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  145. mark congdon

    No companys are out for them self only. My wifes company cut her pay by 17% last year do to hard times now they are doing better but she has not seen her pay reinstated.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  146. Michelle, Southern California


    June 17, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  147. on2ndthought

    Easy for an executive earning $700,000/yr to say they'll work a month for free – it barely dents their lifestyle. Also, are they prepared to return the favor when times are good? If they removed ALL managerial & executive bonuses/compensation I wonder how many employee wages could be left untouched. They never seem to consider reducing their own compensation – did you notice? some how they feel they've earned it – working hard in their ivory towers coming up with schemes at reducing employee wages instead of making the business model viable.
    Unpaid leave is not necessarily a bad thing though, more time off relieves stress in employees and the company benefits from the savings at the same time.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  148. puggles

    as Christine – isnt that what an Internship is?

    The answer depends: what are your options?
    Recall: in Britain, employment is not necessary for medical care benefits, unlike in the US. Thus, as in Chicago where the unions are trying to force the issue, do you have 1500 of your members lose their jobs, and benefits, or do all "work for free" for x (think it's 2 or 3 ) weeks for the next year and have all retain their benefits (health care, contribution to pension, etc.) ? The situation in Chicago seems a no-brainer to me. A small pain for me and everyone else or a horrid disruption for 1500?

    In the Brit Air situation, this depends upon how you feel about your job? It is just some you schlep to daily? The more you do to assure that the company survives, then the greater likelihood that you won't have more – 52 weeks yearly of unpaid leave!

    Recall that when it comes to any advancement, "team spirit" may be taken into account.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  149. Eric Evans

    Work for free in exchange for a "promise" of long term job security? That's funny! I've worked in the airline industry for 14 years and have a difficult time recalling the last time ANY airline kept their "promises" to their customers and especially their respective work groups!

    June 17, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  150. David

    Heidi, The dow jones is just a complete waste of time? I'd like an answer on this. A long time getting cranked up about it. How about some kind of realy answer.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  151. David

    Just to be clear. I wake up depressed after being very positive about this "financial indicator" for going on three years now. So I would appreciate a direct answer on this question.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  152. Nedim Mujic - UTICA NY

    Yes i will work for FREE like (BORAT says one time

    June 17, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  153. Dee

    Heh Jimmy Whitfield – What's ya smoking I want some to make being destitute alot easier

    June 17, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  154. Lemuel Stevens

    In these troubled times, where it's getting harder and harder to find a job, British Airways is playing on their employees' dependency to have a guaranteed income. The question now becomes, would management be willing to work a month without income alongside their employees?

    June 17, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  155. Sidney Wong

    I have offered to work for free of up to a month still no response from my applications.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  156. Jake J.

    I'd work for free if the job was awesome enough.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  157. Franklin

    Haha while recently working for a nonprofit who shall remain nameless (voter reg fraud anyone?) I went 2 MONTHS without getting paid. But the nature of the work meant that if I didn't continue, people's lives would have been negatively effected. The day after we finally got paid, the office was closed with no prior notice to us. I still havent gotten my last check!!

    June 17, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  158. Svetlana

    I am working for free right now and hopefully when a position opens I will be the first one conisdered for the position. I volunteer once a week but at least it gets me out there and when I do a good job hopefully someone will appreciate all the free work I have done.

    Even if I had a job I will still be willing to work for free because I do not think people can afford to risk the position they already HAVE for a few hours for free. The way I look at it, it is better to work without getting paid for up to one month of the year than to not have any income for the whole year.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  159. Chaddju

    I would work for free in a educational sense not to do the same thing as I am doing. I have to learn new things some how and I think this is the best way to learn and your boss would know that you care about the job you are doing. This would be a good way to show loyalty to the company.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  160. Rebecca

    Before I answer this question, I just need to know how much the CEO makes at British Airways.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  161. Lisa Bush


    June 17, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  162. Jake J.

    ..... and working on a airplane would be extremely awesome!!!

    June 17, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  163. emit flesti


    if companies are insolvent, then they should have been pro active well before things got bad. none are. every corp I have been at often has way to many big ticket chiefs, and not nearly enough indians who do the work. they do to little to demand their salaries.

    the companies should fail, and allow room for others to start new companies to pick up the employees and business.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  164. Chuck Danielian

    I've been out of work since 11/1/07. At 65, I haven't had a lot of options open up for me. I know what the job market is here in SW Florida and I understand the economic pressures that employers are facing. Would I have worked a month for free to save my job and still be working now? You bet I would!

    June 17, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  165. Feras

    I would if they would pay me for this month when they start making profits again .

    June 17, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  166. Wm

    Before i commit to work for free for a time no longer than 1 month, I would ask myself a few questions. How committed am I to this company and more so, to this industry? How much disposable money do I have in savings and would I have to dip into any other accounts? Do I have any other accounts to pull from? If I do this to help the company, is there the possibility for promotions?

    June 17, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  167. Mike

    As someone who has been asked this of me in the IT industry I feel this is some how a violation of the labor laws that have been put in place over the past century. I believe that I would rather just have the day off.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  168. Don

    Yes, I would as long as there was a guarentee in place that no management bonuses were to be paid out and that money would be filtered down to pay back the staff that worked for free.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  169. steve

    Why should I work for free so they can pay their bills and make a profit, I have to pay my bills with my own money that I've worked for. If they have not handled their business well, let them go bankrupt. If I don't handle my money well, I don't have food for the month, or insurance on my home or gas for my car. NO... No one who has a brain that functions would work for free and let their own business (their home and family) go without. Has the whole world gone mad ? Talk about the dumbing down of America ! I will never fly with them again just for the fact that they would even suggest such a thing.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  170. Brent

    yes, I would work for free as long as I could afford to travel and eat during the work period. I beleive it's better for humans to work if possible, on a psychological level.However, I think a more appropriate question would be ... would you fly on an aircraft that was maintained and operated by people who aren't being paid. If the old addage "you get what you pay for" is true, then where would the incentive be for the fuelers and the maintenance and the inspectors. Quality control would be my first issue, for the safety factor alone.I'm going to google the average pay for these career feilds and find out what type of compensation is the average to begin with, include that with the cost of schooling/licensing and I'm sure the amount will be less than the average Airline pilots pay that you broadcasted a short time ago depicting the average pilot's pay. ...hmmmmm, makes the automotive industry bailout and lowering the cost of oil seem like more of a necessity when you add in how much os the business sector and fiscal health depends on the transportation industry.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  171. JimC

    This is just wrong in so many ways. I have always said that if it is not important enough for me to get paid, it must not be important enough for me to do. I have felt that way my whole life and I still stand by it. I can work anywhere for free. So why should I work for them?

    June 17, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  172. Chad Cathey

    I am a DJ – Disco Jockey online at and I work for free doing this for i love being a DJ, it doesnt bother me one bit I have been doing it since December of 2008 and i love the radio staion I DJ for, we play all types of music and take requests 24/7.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  173. Dorothy

    Yes, I would work for free for 1 all the people out there with your NO"s try being unemployed for a year..i bet you would rethink your answer not fun fun..1 month of working for free vs totall unemployment.. doen't take a rocket scientist...we are living in diffrent times!!

    June 17, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  174. steve in South Carolina

    Jeff P. said it best. (comment above) Slaves are better taken care of .

    June 17, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  175. DJ in Denver

    I think that will go on my next cardboard sign I hold up at the intersection. I will work for free. God bless 🙂

    June 17, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  176. Bob

    Absolutely not. In many companies, manpower has been slashed, increasing the workload on those that remain. Benefits have been eliminated, reduced or reduced and the cost increased passed on to the employee. Now work for nothing while shareholders and executives enjoy the profits? Slavery was outlawed and must remain so.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  177. steve in South Carolina

    Boycott British Airways for even suggesting such a thing.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  178. mike seguin

    I have been working for free since last August!
    I own small Real Estate CO and have not closed a deal since last August and have had no RE income since then. You focus on the wage earners in this economy but what about the thousands of us independent contactors with nothing every week when times get bad.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  179. Jennifer

    Yes I'd work for free. Huh? Done it more times than I can count. Why? To keep my job. But I'd also call it slavery.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  180. C

    It's a nice idea, but no good deed goes unpunished. If it workers do it once, companies will come up with ways to get workers to do this more often. Also, workers who are unwilling to do so, will most likely start receiving "poor performance" reviews and ultimately loose their job. In essence, workers will start having to pay their employer to be able to work there.Taking money away from American's workers, how is this going to help the financial crisis?

    I think that the salary payback should come from the top. How many millions does one need in order to provide for basic human needs: food, water, and shelter for oneself and their family? It's unfair to ask people who are struggling to provide for their basic human needs to make sacrafices, while some executives/management are living on a yearly budget that exceeds what a regular worker will make in their entire lifetime.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  181. miss molly

    I work for a small business in FL. Since the begining of the economic crisis, the owners and managers have opted not to collect a paycheck on several occasions, just to keep the doors open. I even offered to go without pay for a few weeks to help them in their effort... they respectfully declined. I hope that the administrators at British Airways have opted to make the same sacrifices that they have asked of their employees.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  182. odette

    I would be willing to work a day or two without pay if it would help to save my job * 1 week is asking a lot in these hard economic times. Seems like British Airways is not only trying to get over on their employees but passengers as well, just yesterday my son who is 14 yrs old and traveling to London by himself from LAX wasn't allowed an escort to his gate by a parent without paying a $50 fee ??? This is outragious ! I never paid a fee with any other airline in the past that he's flown on. Just what exactly does the $50 cover ?

    June 17, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  183. Simon Cowell

    While Willie Walsh has been at the helm on a salary of £735,000 per year. We have had the passenger and cargo price scandal costing over £400 million.
    Also the Terminal 5 opening shambles mainly because he would not listen to the front line staff, cost to British Airways £40 million.

    He should go now before it’s to late and they are all out of a job.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  184. David

    To not be rude but to be insistent on this point that is vital. When someone misses the opportunity to communicate they miss the chance to inform and enhance the overall situation and to open up new possibilities and break new ground.

    I would work for free to "protect my job" but also to see how a job works on a trial basis. You take a chance on me, I'll take a chance on you too. I've been taking a huge chance on following your dow jones coverage, how about you take a chance on me?

    How do I know if the dow has anything to do with me? What makes it go up? go down? I have some ideas, but there could be a lot more feedback.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  185. RJ

    I`m 40 years old and served honorably in the USNavy and have never been in trouble withthe law and have worked now for 7 years for the USPS as a sub-carrier just waiting my turn, well now it looks like I1ll never see that turn! USPS is cutting from the bottom up which I`m sure they hope never reaches that high. Usps is doing exactly what GM did to cut costs, they are trying to cut the little guy and hope that it will be enough but its not going to be! I still work with 50 and 60 year old guys and gals who are getting overtime while I at the bottom of the pay scale is getting cut! You have the Postmaster General making more money than the Prez of the free world. Does anyone else see a problem here??? Would it make more sense to have forced retirements and cuts from the top down? The way I learned math it would make more sense!

    June 17, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  186. Erica

    As long as the CEO and all other employees are working for free, I may consider doing the same, but if it is only a few people required to work without monetary compensation, I would have to say that that is an outrage, the first person that should be required to go without a month's paycheck should be the CEO.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  187. Josh T. H.

    It's funny you ask this question. I'm in the middle of a move from Las Vegas to San Diego and I was tricked into working for free while there. After being promised a salary by a nightclub to move from another venue, I found out on my first payday that it "hadn't been approved yet". After another 2 weeks of work and no word about any kind of compensation I packed up and left. Working for free is called volunteering, and when I volunteer I make my own hours, take my own breaks and do as I wish overall. That wouldn't fly with most "employers". Right now I'm waiting to start a new, paid position and canvassing for marriage rights in CA. At least my work will accomplish something other than lining the pockets of the nicely paid higher ups.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  188. Mitch Mallett

    It sounds like sweet equity, so where's the equity. Who is making out here, the stock holders. I think they should issue more stock and trade it for unpaid labor. I doubt that would happen, that would dilute the value of the stock.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  189. Debra Long

    In the State of Washington it is illegal to work off the clock. How would a company get around that. Debbie Long

    June 17, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  190. jorge o gonzalez

    are you kidding me how could any company have the gall to ask that of anyone i wonder how many in upper managment is going to work for free maybe my bank wil let me live in my house for free or maybe light company not cut me off if i dont pay what a bunch of thieves

    June 17, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  191. Jay Parker

    Didn't the UK nationalize British Airways and BOAC in 1987? If I worked for the current corporation I would refuse to work for free. Why doesn't their government bail the airline out? If we can bail out GM and Chrysler, they certainly should bail out their national airline. My guess that if the Royal Family felt the same way – they are wealthy enough to bail out the airline to promote good will and unify their country.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  192. Jamie Rain

    I have no problem working a month for free if I loved my job and can afford it, but not for the airline industry. This isn't some small, cash-strapped business, but an industry that makes billions of dollars a year. If an airline has a good year, do they pay their employees more? Why should the employees take a pay-cut to keep the airline afloat in a bad year? There are several carriers out there posting profits, even in these economic times. So suffice it to say, maybe the directors of the company should look at themselves and their policies before pushing it off on their employees...

    June 17, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  193. Anita

    Many state and local goverrnment workers across the U.S. are already doing this. How long they must work without pay depends on their jurisdiction's specific budget situation, but 2 weeks to one month is not unusual.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  194. Erika

    As a teacher, a third of the time I put into my job is unpaid, as many of my nights and weekends and part of my summer are donated to the school district and my students. It's been that way for teachers since the beginning of time. I've gone through pay freezes and pay cuts, and now additional unpaid days being asked of me. However, I continue to accept this because I love my job and care about the quality of my students' education. I just hope my school board and others who have put teachers in the same position remember the sacrifices we've made when it comes time for contract negotiations in better economic times.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  195. Patcy

    Would I work for free for a period of time. I would if my builds could be paid while volunteering free service; i don't have this luxury at all and most working people, who have to work, don't have it either..

    June 17, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  196. Jean

    Would you work for free? I just got in and tuned in to CNN as usual and heard the relevant comments. Employers are crazy (female) and are mad (male) that they expect employees to work for free. Time is important and time is precious and employers could never ever pay their employees for their time. For your information, the first free work I would perform is to do volunteer work for the Catholic Church of which I am a practicing member. The second is to help those who are in need such as to visit the sick, the shut-ins, be it that they are physically challenged and other and to perform some other good work where the circumstances call for it. I would never work for an employer for free, although I have done it, not expecting compensation for extra time performed on the job. If an employer dare asked me to work for "free", not stay after hours to complete an urgent task to which I would agree, in this day and age, noting the ecomony, very little annual salary increase or none at all, no bonuses and increased costs I probably would tell him/her to go take a hike. No, Tony, I would not say the latter but it would be in my mind. Furthermore, it is against government regulations, at least, the Canadian government, Federal and Provincial for employers to ask of and to expect employees to work without pay. I could consider such employers to be heartless ones. If they did, they will be reported and will have to pay the employees. I hope that your U.S.employers do not expect their employees to work for free. Employers shoud regard employees, the hard-working ones at least as assets which assist their business to grow and progress so that they could remainin business, get rich and live a lavish lifestyle. The rest, you may know what I mean.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  197. Patcy

    Work for free. Then try telling your creditors that you can't make your monthly payments or you are behind, for a month, because you are giving your job free work hours to help them to keep you employed. No offense intended, you could still end up losing your job for any number of other reasons. Let the dedicated executives give up a months pay and their healthy bonuses; see if they will do that.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  198. David

    So, I would work for free, but I would expect my "employer" to talk to me! The daily interaction does everything that needs to be done. Creates channels of communication, inspires, gives the pleasure of being in each other's company. Did you know Heidi even schools of fish experience pleasure by rubbing up against each other as they are swimming around under the oceans. A brilliant scientist actually measured how much they are being tickled by brushing up against eachother. It turns out a lot. So being in each others company does a lot to buoy up lift and move a relationship employer/employee over the sand bars of economic hardship, of life. I read about this environmental fact in Science magazine a couple years again. Fascinating information.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  199. dave

    ask british airways if they would let people ride for free then have them ask that question.
    you know the owner of the company is sitting on his behind in a big old fancy house not a care in the world so y would they even try something like this my god some people anything to save a buck.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  200. dan in Tucson AZ

    Just look at the reverse and see what happens, even if the economy was excellent. Try asking your employer if they will pay you for not working. It works both ways. If the company you are working for is not solvent enough to pay your salary, you need to find a new job. Also, I would march right to the unemployment office and file a claim.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  201. dan in Tucson AZ

    I just thought of this. This is one step below slavery. At least slaves were given a place to sleep and food to eat. What is BA giving their people.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  202. Tom Harper

    If I'm a salaried worker then I'd certainly be willing to do what I could to help. As an hourly worker I would expect overtime for my work. Generally, hourly workers don't have the same stake in the company as the salaried guys. No reason bending over backwards when the guy at the top is making 61,000 pounds sterling a month. You're average worker is a survivor, and will find a way to get by if BA crashes. But the average exec, tush comfortably fixed in a nice chair, would be like a fish out of water. If BA fails then the execs will have to swim in the water with the other sharks. That will be very entertaining to watch.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  203. jim fields

    british airways has a lots of nerve to even suggest such a thing maybe the management should work a month for free and forget about there bonuses thank you

    June 17, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  204. Charlie Erickson

    In reference to RJ's statement (2:16 PM), I thought that no federal employee could earn more than the President. Am I wrong?

    Anyway, as far as putting in free hours goes; I've done that with many jobs, which I how I advanced. That however, was of my own choice. In the British Airways Idea, I guess It would depend on who I was working for, what my position in the company was, how long I'd worked there, my age at the time, my satisfaction with my employer, and the long term financial outlook of the company. In other words: lots of variables in that equation.


    June 17, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  205. jim fields

    ,british airways has there nerve to even suggest such a thing maybe the management should work a month for free and forget about there bonuses thank you for hearing me.

    June 17, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  206. marsh

    the reason to work is make money –if i dont get anything out of it no i woudnt work for free... i know u helping out company –how company helping you?

    June 18, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  207. Ke Wilford

    Absolutely not, they put their time in compensation time. when they retire, they get paid cash for extra time (with a cap)

    June 18, 2009 at 5:49 pm |