Intel is offering thousands of workers in Ireland three months unpaid leave as the US chipmaker looks to cut costs by $3bn next year to counter a dramatic downturn in the global industry.
The company, which earlier this year announced it was boosting investment at a new facility in Ireland, said employees at its manufacturing plant in Leixlip were being asked, not told, to consider the leave offer.
Intel said the scheme is a “voluntary time-off programme”. Asked what would happen if too few, or too many, staff signed up, Intel added: “Staff can apply and the business will decide what it can manage.”
The move comes as tech companies have announced a wave of lay-offs in recent months as businesses tighten their belts to cope with an economic slowdown.
Chipmakers have been hit by a fast downturn, with a large number of companies issuing weak sales and profit projections over the past two months.
In October, Intel warned it was preparing thousands of job cuts as it promised to slice up to $10bn from its cost base by the end of 2025 in the face of a further deterioration in demand for its chips.
Mobile chipmaker Qualcomm slashed its revenue guidance by a quarter in November as slower consumer spending hit mobile phone purchases, while AMD warned that sales of processors for PCs would fall 40 per cent.
Intel expects manufacturing staff to take the leave in the first quarter next year but did not say how many of the 4,500 employed in Leixlip would be eligible.
Ireland is heavily dependent on big tech and pharma multinationals, which make up more than half of corporate tax revenues. At nearly €14bn in the nine months to September, that tax take was almost €6bn ahead of the same period last year.
Many global tech giants have their European headquarters in Ireland, where hundreds of jobs at Twitter, Meta, Stripe and others are expected to be lost.
IDA, Ireland’s investment promotion agency, had no immediate comment on the Intel news. But in March, Micheál Martin, Ireland’s taoiseach, welcomed the company’s decision to invest an additional €12bn in a new facility in the country, on top of €5bn already committed. The new facility is expected to create another 2,000 jobs.
At the time, Martin said the investment “firmly underlines . . . the company’s deep and ongoing commitment to Ireland”.