The owner of Big Y Supermarkets has begun what the company calls a voluntary layoff program for its full-time employees in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Springfield-based Big Y Foods Inc. says the program is aimed at ensuring the company's long-term financial health and protecting as many jobs as possible.
A statement released by the company on Thursday did not say how many voluntary departures it was seeking, or whether there would be involuntary layoffs if not enough volunteers came forward.
The statement did say that employees who agreed to be laid off would be eligible for rehiring if the economy and sales improve.
The independent supermarket chain operates 57 stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut and has more than 9,100 full- and part-time employees.