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Charles Schwab Asks Employees to Work Short Weeks in Cost-Cutting Move

Charles Schwab


said Tuesday that it is asking thousands of employees to take Fridays off without pay in the upcoming weeks as part of a cost-cutting initiative.

The move will affect all employees except those with critical jobs relating to client or support positions. Up to 15,000 employees might be affected, according to a report in

The Wall Street Journal

. Schwab said the employees won't be paid for the days off unless they choose to use vacation time.

The initiative comes on the heels of cost-cutting measures and layoffs by other brokers, as well as lower-than-expected fourth-quarter

earnings for Schwab. The brokerage firm, which is based in San Francisco, said its operating income for the quarter was $161 million, or 11 cents a share, down from $191 million, or 14 cents a share, in the year-ago period, and short of the consensus estimate of 12 cents compiled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

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. At the time, the company blamed the shortcoming on the slowing economy and a drop in trading and brokerage commission revenue.

The company also announced earlier that managers' salaries will be reduced for January and February by 5% to 50%. Earlier this month,


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said it was

laying off 230 workers amid lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.

Shares of Charles Schwab fell $1.29, or 4.5%, to close at $27.29 on the

New York Stock Exchange