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Daily Catholic Question

Is it OK for a company to lay off its employees?

When is a company justified in laying off its employees? Does a Catholic institution, such as a hospital, have more of a responsibility to ensure the job security of its employees and to avoid layoffs?

There are no hard-and-fast numbers that would justify laying off employees or reducing a work force. Situations could range from a business owned and administered by one person to a huge company with hundreds of employees and many investors or stockholders.

But surely the threat of going bankrupt would justify reducing a work force to the point where a business can survive and be profitable. To continue running a business at a loss means eventual collapse and ruin for everyone in the enterprise with damage to creditors.

Good and just management looks at the welfare of investors, employees and customers in its decisionmaking. The interests of all need to be balanced.

A Catholic institution, above all, should be aware of how the social encyclicals lay out its obligations to the institution's employees as well as to those it serves. Part of its concern should be managing its affairs to avoid large and sudden layoffs that disrupt the lives and welfare of workers.

If forced to reduce the institution's staff, management might do so by attrition. It should also provide severance pay and assist the employee in finding a new job.

Click here for the rest of today's answer

Monday, March 4, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 3/3/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 3/5/2013


Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, please fill my heart and soul with the confidence that you will always provide what I need, when I need it, and let me be obedient to you.

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