Gannett’s Community Publishing group and Gannett Publishing Services have announced that most employees will take a week of furlough in the first quarter of 2012, according to a memo obtained by Gannett Blog.

The furloughs have been announced for non-union employees but the company intends to ask the union to agree to similar cuts.

Some employees making below an unspecified income threshold won’t be affected, but everyone else will need to take the week, and accompanying pay cut.

The furloughs are expected to save millions, but won’t preclude further layoffs, the company said in a FAQ. “We want to avoid future layoffs and sincerely hope that we can but that decision is dependent on the business climate during the rest of the new year. It is important to note that as we continue to consolidate some operations to achieve greater efficiencies there will be some position eliminations as our normal course of business but that is different than a division-wide layoff,” the FAQ read.

The cuts affect 20,000 employees, Gannett Blog’s Jim Hopkins says, and the fact that they’re coming in the first quarter of the year for the fourth year running suggests “the company is now locked in a cycle of early-year furloughs as it struggles to deal with continued revenue declines.”

Not good.