Interesting Memo from my work at Cabela's/ : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I am a lurker who finally has something of interest for this forum. I work at Cabela's. When I went to work today I read the following Memo that was posted on our department bulletin board:

To: Cabela's Enployees

CC: Vice-Presidents, Directors, Managers and Supervisors

From: Payroll Department

Re: Vacation Accruals

As most of you are aware, many employees are experiencing a problem with their vacation accruals. This is a Company wide problem within our current payroll system. We realize this is an inconvenience and we are working to correct the problem. The correction process is time consuming and must be addressed on an individual employee basis. We applogize for any delay in responding to your concerns.

Due to the current problems we are experiencing and the limited capabilities of our current payroll system, Cabela's will be converting to a new payroll system. A great deal of time and effort has been and will be put into the implementation of the new payroll system. It is our intention to have the new payroll system in place by January 1, 2000. We feel the new payroll system will better fit the needs of our growing company.

Your patience is greatly appreciated during the undertaking of this project.

Thank you.

Kevin Werts Director of Accounting

Traci Davenport Payroll Manager


That's the end of the Memo. Also our paychecks are all automatically deposited into our checking accounts. Our last pay deposit was delayed over a day because of problems they were having with their computers. I mentioned this Memo to my Department Manager when I read it and I said, "It looks like Cabela's is having a Y2K problem." He said, "No, it didn't have anything to do with Y2K, they are just upgrading our computers." Uhhuh!! I don't think anyone else who read the Memo understood what it was saying - i.e. that Cabela's has a BIG problem.

I thought you all would find this Memo interesting. How many other companies are having these problems?


-- Sandsing (, October 09, 1999


On the subject of employee loyalty: in even the most benevolent of companies, the Human Resource (HR) departments are grappling with some difficult issues. For example: if the mayor or governor makes a public announcement that people should stay home except in emergency cases, then can a company reasonably expect its employees to show up for work in a post-Y2K situation? In an urban area, can employees be reasonably expected to show up for work if the public transportation systems are not functioning? If the schools are closed, can a company reasonably expect its employees to come to work if they have no alternative way of taking care of their kids? For that matter, can they bring their kids to work? And what about the employees who DO try to get to the office, come hell or high water, but sustain injuries in the attempt? Is that covered by the insurance company? Etc, etc, etc.

The scary thing is that a lot of companies are now beginning to think about such real-world contingency issues -- and the kind of memos mentioned by Sandsing have not even begun to appear, in most cases.

83 days to go ... a lot of HR departments are going to be VERY busy in the coming weeks.


-- Ed Yourdon (, October 09, 1999.

My son is an engineer with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, and he and his fellow employees were over paid $200 each on their last paychecks. They got a letter saying "Sorry for the Inconvenience." His next paycheck will be minus $200. This was not the first time this has happened. Sandsing, you may want to stop the automatic deposit and get a physical check. My husband get's shorted overtime hours all the time and he has to keep a diary of his hours worked each day. If he doesn't do this, he ends up getting screwed out of money.

-- bardou (, October 09, 1999.

"... you may want to stop the automatic deposit and get a physical check."

That may not actually be possible. At my place of work, auto deposit is mandatory.

One woman I know closed out her checking account altogether, & it took her a while to get the idea across to payroll that they could still pay her.

-- show (, October 09, 1999.

"At my place of work, auto deposit is mandatory."

Do they do this deposit at any bank of your choice, or do they require you to get it at one particular bank? They may tell you it is mandatory as a company policy, but that has to be illegal. They cannot force you to have a bank account.

-- @ (@@@.@), October 09, 1999.

I just heard today of another place that's "upgrading" their payroll system. I bet a lot of places are doing that. I suppose we can expect quite a few messed up paychecks in the coming months...which brings me to a topic that I don't think is discussed enough, namely employee loyalty. All these companies and their contingency plans assume that they will have a full workforce. Yet, I remember in that VERY excellent Wired Magazine article on the ice storm in Canada (can anyone provide a link - it's a really good article) that people stopped coming to work after about 3 days. I don't think it would take much, especially for a parent, to decide they had better stay home for whatever reason. I see this as being a major, yet unconsidered potential problem.

-- Jean Shift (, October 09, 1999.

The employee loyalty issue is a big question mark. Let me cite an example of what a Fortune 30 company is saying. As regards disruptions caused by Y2K. "Any employee that is unable to come into work due to unplanned disruptions will be required to use any accrued vacation that is available. If you do not have accrued vacation then this will be considered un-paid time off. All employees are encourged to plan alternate travel routes or transportation plans to report to their jobs."

Now this sounds pretty straight forward. But the message, as I read it, is that you must show up for work or else. No excuses due to floods, riots, power outages, plague, famine, etc. Get your butt to work!! So if there is no power why would anyone go to work? If there is no gas how do you get there? Just another example of the short sightedness of some management folks. "Yep, we can build them widgets by flashlight!" :) So just who is going to buy these widgets if lots of us are out of jobs next year?

Should be interesting.............

-- (, October 09, 1999.

Our new payroll system worked on the first go-round, but my wife was dropped from the insurance coverage when the data was moved to the new system

-- BH (, October 09, 1999.

Regarding Y2k Contingency Planning & Employees

THIS could be a BIG oversight on the part MANY govt./companie's plans. If your employer has contingency plans for *manual* operations, and a few key players are unable to come into work due to gasoline/food/electricity supply problems, how does the work get done?

WHAT good are contingency plans if the EMPLOYEES haven't PREPARED?


I work for a State government. Buried in the State website I discovered that if the Governor declares a *state of emergency* and conditions make it *unsafe* to travel to work, I can stay home for up to a week and still get paid.

Now I am NOT a *tech support* person, and life would still go on without me, but the point is that current law allows many State workers paid time-off in the event of a declaration of a state of emergency.


You have gotta believe that sooner or later, private companies and governments are going to realize that EMPLOYEES are required to implement contingency plans. Manual operations MUST require BODIES - which would extend beyond IS staff.

REAL contingency plans would require companies/governments to inform their employees to prepare, and to notify even non-IS staff of the need to be *available* at the century turn over. The JoAnne effect applies to PEOPLE as well as other resources.

Without PEOPLE, contingency plans struggle.

-- G (, October 09, 1999.

No kidding. My company has put a lot of work into Y2K (the budget was $18 million, but I don't know what we've actually spent). Not a peep about employee preparations. We've switched the holiday day off so that it is Monday instead of the previous Friday for Y2K reasons, but that's the only clue most employees have that this is anything unusual.

-- Dog Gone (, October 09, 1999.

Bank info


"The answer to the fourth question is that there is no federal law limting the amount of overtime an employer can require. All that the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires is that non-exempt (essentially, those employees in clerical, manual jobs; non-executives, administrators, professionals) employees be paid overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 in a single workweek. But the FLSA places no limits whatever on how much overtime an employee can be required to work. "

"I am not aware of any state law that limits how much overtime a person can work.
So, the answer to your question -- are there limits on overtime -- is no. It doesn't make any difference if the employee is salaried (exempt: executive, administrative, professional). In fact, the understanding is that salary covers all hours worked, regardless of how many.

So, if a bank wanted several of its hourly workers to work 80 hours a week for the last two weeks of the year and first two weeks of the next year, it could order them to do so; if they refused, it could discipline them, including dismissal."

-- info (, October 09, 1999.

Has anyone read the book Arc Light by Eric L. Harry? It starts off with a limited nuclear war then follows the consequences. Even though the concept of the book is nuclear war, what I found interesting is how the government responds. It shows some of the breakdowns in society and how the government basically forces people to work, tells them where they can go, etc. I read it awhile ago, so I can't remember everything, but it was a very interesting look at what could happen.

By the way, I also get my check direct deposited. It is a requirement. I have no idea if it is legal. They electronically send the file to the company's bank, who in turn, sends it to some kind of agency that distributes it to the various employees' banks. One holiday that was on a Friday (can't remember which)screwed me up because I couldn't get any money out until Monday. I didn't have an ATM card at the time. I was really pissed about it. We usually have our checks available by 9am Friday morning, but were told it would be available Thursday since Friday was a holiday. My bank closed early on Thursday and the agency which sends the money thru wasn't planned to do it until too late on Thursday. So I felt ripped off by both my company, who could have sent in the file earlier in the week, and by my bank, too. Although, my company was told by the bank that the money would be available. Either way, I ended up writing checks all weekend.

Lastly, I work for a relatively small computer consulting firm, around 80 people as a purchasing agent. Recently it has become harder to get replacement parts, and I would estimate that 1 in every 15 UPS shipments gets misplaced. Can't say if it is UPS or if it is my distrubutor. But I see a lot of this going on and it is making my job a lot more difficult.

-- Darla Nice (, October 09, 1999.

Darla Nice,

Very "nice" of you to share! Seriously though, it is an eye opener. You brought up a good point:

"They electronically send the file to the company's bank, who in turn, sends it to some kind of agency that distributes it to the various employees' banks."

Wow. When we are looking at a good possibility of electronic failures this seems like a dangerous path to take, passing through three different organizations before it gets into your hands. So it is not just a matter of your bank anymore, and the odds of getting paid are being significantly reduced.

I bet if you were to really raise a stink you could probably demand to be paid in cash directly from your company. A lot of companies used to do it that way not that long ago, and it almost seems unconstitutional to require you to hold a bank account to get your money.

-- @ (@@@.@), October 09, 1999.

Forgot one small detail regarding my son and his paycheck. His company is pressuring him and several other employees to get direct deposit and they have refused to do it.

Good point "G," regarding employees who need to be available for "manual" operations of systems such as the power grid. Big cities will be the most vulnerable for violence. My husband works for one of the largest power utilities in California, and he is scheduled for vacation the last week of December and first week of January. He's in the gas part of the business, but linemen and troublemen have already been told no vacations and they will be on call. Linemen, troublemen, gas service reps, all must live within 30 minutes of their headquarters because they have to respond to emergencies in a timely manner. I don't know how utilities in other states mandate where their employees live, but I think this is a good policy. However, the biggest problem will be getting employees to answer the phone ITSHTF. The only way I see around it is to have personnel on the job 24 hours a day the first 2 weeks in January. A new union contract is coming up for a vote and who knows what will happen or what employees will be unhappy about the results. It is against the law for power and gas utility workers to strike so that's a plus there, but there's nothing that says they have to answer the phone.

-- bardou (, October 09, 1999.


Yes, I am aware of the problems we face with direct deposit. But, really, if electricity goes out, I doubt if anyone will even be able to get a check cashed. Everything is so automated now, I wonder if a bank or grocery store would cash a check without being able to record it. Sometimes if a bank's computers are down, they will cash checks. I don't know, however, if we would have access to the money in our account on good faith, you know? To some extent everyone will be in the same boat. How can businesses deposit their daily receipts with no electricity? How can they pay their bills or employees or purchase new inventory? It will be a sticky situation for everyone, I think.

It is best to have cash in hand at the end of the year, but for some of us, the little we have won't last too long! Hopefully, it won't come to that.

After discussing this, I think I will find out the agency that distributes our money and see if I can find out any information about it.

I really never minded direct deposit until now. I already had a checking account, by the way. My husband had to open an account at a credit union in order to get his check direct deposited. Luckily, he only used it as a pass-thru account and there was only a $5 minimum balance required. Anyway, I am just in a wait-and-see mode. I don't think there is much anyone can do at this point other than prepare as best you can and hope for the best.

-- Darla (, October 09, 1999.

@ Here is an interesting direct deposit site-

-- Darla (, October 09, 1999.

The United States Military requires direct deposit. If any bank will do, it is not illegal. Also, those digital dollars are just as spendable as those "Fed Dollars". The main problem is, both may soon be worthless. Don't expect to have access to either, either!

-- space (, October 09, 1999.

P.S. I was ordered by a Two-Star to report on Jan 1 for duty. They talked about MIDNIGHT -01!!!!! Contingency is my concern. I better be there!!!

-- space (, October 09, 1999.

I work as tech support for one of the "BIG 5" on Wall Street, (Thankfully as second level offsite!) The company has started to put together,ostensibly, a 'Emergency Reaction Team', who in time of emergency, Rain, Sleet, Ice Storm ectectect... will _attempt_ to come to work no matter what.

The interesting thing is that the ones who have been asked to participate have either been living right around the corner, (which makes sense) or, interestingly enough, those of us with military experience and backround. This kind of makes me wonder "why?" They in particular, wanted (my IT mgr) wanted to know what kind of Military training/courses/specialties I had. This is REALLY wierd as I'm just a newbie-tech-geek. What the hell are they so worried about to want ME on this team? I've only been here a -short- time, but all us vets have been put on theis 'strike team' strange eh?

-- Billy-Boy (, October 09, 1999.

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