Here’s how to know if your company’s layoff policy is a ‘good’ one

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laid off this year mostly limited to the sectors hardest hit by the economy, especially technology. However, depending on your industry, you could face layoffs if the economy slows down more severely in 2023, and it’s not always what you should expect from an employer. about to be a former employee when they let you go.

Recent headlines have shown how wide-ranging layoff policy can be from corporations, from burning method for farming made by Elon Musk at Twitter with pains that some leaders will reveal publicly letter about job cuts set out various benefits that are extended to leaving employees.

According to an annual poll conducted by Just Capital, layoffs are a well-known issue for companies at a time when the American public ranks the way businesses treat their workers as problematic. The most important ESG. Living wages, training and career advancement opportunities, worker safety, and diversity all make up human capital measures, but they don’t. that is, companies are free to adopt ways of reducing the number of employees. Just Capital’s founding CEO, Martin Whittaker, said: “It can be done fairly.

“My general philosophy about letting people go is that you want to be nice to people because it all depends on your brand and in today’s market an employer brand is so important. important,” said Paul Wolfe, a former head of human resources at Indeed, who now runs his own company. advice company. “The people who have left are still talking about your brand,” he said.

But there’s a big problem: many workers don’t know how to evaluate a severance agreement, in fact, they can’t tell a fair layoff from an unfair one. Here are some recommendations from career experts for employer-employee interactions that no one wants, but it’s better to prepare in advance.

Don’t sign anything at first notice

A very important piece of knowledge to start with: you don’t have to sign an offer of leave. In fact, career coach Fiona Bryan’s #1 advice when getting a layoff offer is not to sign any documents on the spot when you’re first notified.

Bryan, a professional career coach at Ask A Career Expert and senior managing partner at The Bryan Group, said: “It was a really emotional time, and legally, my employer. you must notify you of the time you must sign the papers. . “Take the offer out and read it. Ideally take it to an employment attorney, and some offer short, free consultations.”

“This varies from company to company, but typically,” says Toni Frana, career services manager at FlexJobs, a membership-based job site for hybrid and remote work positions. You will have 21 days to sign the dismissal request.

“You can always negotiate on this package,” said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of outsourcing company Challenger, Gray & Christmas. And he says employees are more likely to succeed in this environment, unlike during a sudden, severe downturn like the fallout of Covid, where many companies hire too many employees. in a slowing economy. “This is not a panic, this is not a falling knife,” he said. “Employees will never have as much leverage in an exit negotiation as they do accepting a job offer, but “now is a better time than in a major crisis,” he said. “.

After you’ve had time to process the emotional, financial, and mental changes a layoff brings, here’s how to know if your company’s layoff offer is a good one and if it’s done. Is it time to negotiate for a better offer?

How you have severance payment problem

When it comes to severance pay, Bryan advises people to determine if it’s a one-time payment or if the company will keep them on the payroll when they deposit the money into its account.

“If it’s a one-time payment, sometimes it’s nice to get laid off and find a new job,” says Bryan. “But sometimes it benefits people to stay on the payroll, so they can continue to list resume employment on their resume with the company.”

If you still get a check from the company, Bryan said you can still say you’re working at the company on your resume. This is especially important if someone has only been with the company for a short time when they leave and they may be listing active employment for a while longer.

How much money should you expect?

Most companies offer severance pay based on time worked at a company. Frana says the general rule is that companies pay you between one week and three weeks for each year you work at the company.

If you’ve been with the company for a year, you can expect to get one to three weeks of pay. But if you’ve been with the company for 10 years, you can get anywhere from 10 weeks to 30 weeks pay.

“If you’re valuable to the company, you can get more money or ask for more,” says Bryan. “But two years of severance is usually the maximum. In my career history, I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone going beyond 24 months.”

How to lead through layoffs and manage affected employees

Assessing health benefits and severance together

In addition to how much you’re paid, how quickly your health benefits expire is another part of the company’s layoff offer.

“I’ve found [health benefits] “So it’s another difference if someone stays on the payroll or if they get paid once,” Bryan said.

Bryan says: “If you get paid for two months or a year in severance payments, then often your health insurance will also continue during that time. But if you receive a lump sum, it will be difficult for the company to continue to cover your health care.

“That’s just the way insurance companies work. If a person isn’t an employee, the company can’t pay the premium for them,” Bryan said. “While if you’re still on the payroll and you’re getting paid normally, a company can also pay your premiums.”

In today’s tight labor market, some companies are offering more. In a recent layoff, fintech firm Stripe said it was offering the cash equivalent of six months of existing or continued healthcare premiums.

In the US, regardless of how you are paid severance pay or if The Ministry of Labor requires companies to provide a temporary continuation of the health benefits that people were previously offered while working at the company. This is often at the expense of employees, and it Compulsory under COBRAor the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.

Frana said that although each company is different, they will provide temporary coverage for about two months. But these ongoing health benefits aren’t offered at the same prices you’re offered as an employee, and can become pricey for those who have just been laid off.

Challenger says the “headline number” in total weeks of severance pay is the hardest to negotiate, but peripherals like healthcare, stay on payroll longer, and PTOs could offer more opportunities employees to demand better terms.

Career help to negotiate into an agreement

While severance pay and medical benefits are important, there are additional resources companies can provide in your layoff package and some you can negotiate if not initially approved. provided.

Making employees aware of the parts of the package without necessarily spending money or setting big precedents is important because that’s something HR often tries not to do, says Bryan.

Alternative benefits, such as resume reviews, career coaching, and interview training, are key resources that companies can offer in their severance packages.

It’s one of the resources people need most when they’re laid off, says Lisa Rangel, founder and CEO of Chameleon Resumes, a resume writing and job search consulting firm. they return to the job market.

“If the company doesn’t offer them directly, you can negotiate to get them yourself,” says Rangel. “Or if they’re offering a generic, generic alternative, you can also negotiate what custom services will benefit you and see if they do.”

Other resources may include connecting to the company’s alumni network and even accessing internal resources, such as attorneys, to assist with legal needs. When the company pays online Stripe lays off workers in November, they have provided former employees with access to alumni email addresses, as well as career and immigration assistance. The latter is extremely important for foreign visa workers residing in the United States depending on whether or not they are employed.

While these services aren’t usually offered by every company, Bryan says an employee can and should always ask for what they need, and that helps if the costs aren’t too high. If you’re not being offered what you need or think you’re worthy based on your tenure and performance, she adds that like a job offer, everything is negotiable.

Wolfe says that a company’s work goes beyond extended financial benefits. As an HR leader, he said during the layoff situation, “My job is to help you as much as I can and help you get your next gig and companies, if they care about employees, will want to help.”

“If you’ve never been in a layoff situation before, negotiation may not be something you automatically think of,” says Frana. “You can always try negotiating, there’s room for negotiation or not, you don’t know unless you try.”

While being fired is never ideal and is often not expected, Bryan said you should always support what you need and deserve.

“Severance packages can be good when you know they’re coming and you’ve got some planning,” says Bryan. “But re-entering the job market requires resources, and that helps when you’re well prepared, so that another company can attract you.”


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