On the West Coast, They Aren't Sweating the Millennium Weekend

They say Californians are a little more laid back about things, and this certainly seems to be the case with the Y2K rollover weekend. On the West Coast, which actually has more time than the rest of the country until midnight strikes for the Year 2000, companies aren't overly edgy about keeping an eye on their computer operations during the rollover. In fact, most California companies are preparing to ring in the first year of the new millennium by giving employees the weekend off, according to a survey of 619 companies released by the Los Angeles-based Employers Group.

Sixty-three percent of businesses surveyed say they will not significantly alter their staffing schedules, and 77 percent say they will not limit their employees' use of vacation or personal time because of Y2K concerns.

Y2K staff preparedness plans were far more likely to be observed by organizations that provide public services, including financial firms, banks, utilities, government agencies and hospitals. "California's economy is dominated by small- and mid-sized companies, and these firms are not changing their staffing schedules as the Y2K weekend approaches," says William Dahlman, president and CEO of Employers Group.

Survey results show that the larger the company, the more likely key employees will have vacation time limited or be required to remain on call during the Y2K transition period. The most common Y2K staffing plan, reported by 24 percent of these firms, involves requiring key employees to be on company premises between Dec. 31, 1999, and Jan. 2, 2000. The next-most-common practice--reported by 23 percent of firms--requires that employees be "on call" during the months of December and January.

California companies seem confident that current staff levels can handle any possible Y2K disruptions--only two percent of all companies surveyed said they plan to add personnel as a preventive measure.

The survey also found that the majority of employees who are affected by scheduling changes for the Y2K transition period will not be bringing home bonus checks, according to Juan Garcia, research director for Employers Group. "Rather, the vast majority of these employees will receive compensatory time off."