Oilfield service giant Halliburton plans to “furlough” about 3,500 employees of its Houston headquarters for the next two months amid grim market conditions that include four year-low oil prices and the coronavirus outbreak.
In the US, a furlough is a temporary leave of employees due to special needs of a company or employer, which may be due to economic conditions at the specific employer or in the economy as a whole.
Employees at the company’s North Belt Campus will work one week and take one week off during the 60 days, the company said. Employees won’t be paid for the week off but will receive benefits such as health insurance.
“We believe moving to this schedule will allow us to best manage costs and provide full benefits for our employees during this difficult market,” company spokeswoman Emily Mir said in a statement.
Halliburton made the decision as oil prices continue to plummet. West Texas Intermediate crude oil was trading Wednesday below $25 per barrel. A price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia has created a global supply glut while the coronavirus outbreak has lowered global demand.
Like other companies, Halliburton has restricted all non-essential business travel and is encouraging employees to conduct virtual meetings where possible.
Halliburton’s office-based employees also are encouraged to work from home. In jobs where working from home isn’t an option, the company is encouraging the use of rotating schedules to reduce the number of people at any given time in a facility.
Those measures are expected to remain in place until the company receives different guidance from local and federal authorities.
This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.