Macmillan, the publishing giant that's been around since 1843 and includes imprints like Farrar, Strauss & Giroux (home to Thomas Friedman), Picador (Naomi Klein) and St. Martin's (South Beach Diet), gave its employees what passes as a Christmas bonus this year: he didn't lay off anyone but did announce a pay freeze for 2009 "for everyone making over $50,000." That's not as bad as getting laid off, however, which is what happened at Simon & Schuster, Doubleday, and maybe Random House. Lovely! Full memo after the jump.

To: All Macmillan US
From: John Sargent
Date: December 9th, 2008

Since I spoke to you a month ago about the economic crisis and its impact on our company, I can’t say much has changed. We are now clearly in a recession and there is still no clarity on how long or deep it will be. What is clear is that retail book sales are down, advertising revenues are down, and even countercyclical businesses like education are struggling in many cases. We are not immune to these forces, and our business continues to be soft. So the time has come to take action for next year.

Effective January 1st for 2009 we will freeze salaries for everyone making more than $50,000. For those making under $50,000 there will be a pool for modest increases. All bonus plans will stay in effect, but all are sensitive to individual company profitability and individual performance. Thus the impact on individual bonus plans will vary.

It has been a very tough year for retirement savings, so I’m happy to say we plan to make our usual discretionary contribution to the 401k plan for 2008 (paid in March 2009). As we informed everyone last week we will continue to absorb the same percentage of costs for our medical benefit plans.

You will hear more about expense control and next year’s budget on a company by company basis over the next week or two. We will continue to review all of our business policies as events unfold this year. I will stay in touch on a more frequent basis to let you know how we are doing, and I have every confidence that we will be doing as well as the market allows and then some.

I know it is a bit jarring at the end of a memo like this one, but it should not go unsaid. I hope you and yours have a happy and healthy holiday season and thanks for all your efforts this year.