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Know How To Tell A Good Layoff Policy From A Bad One? Here's What Outgoing Employees Should Keep In Mind

Digvijay
Digvijay
Updated on Mar 16, 2023, 11:42 IST- 8 min read
Indiatimes

Layoffs are hard, you never know when you might have to face one. It’s better to be prepared. Whether you are getting laid off or not, it’s better to know if your company even has a good layoff policy, which is more than just an email asking you to leave. 

What to do, when to do and how much to do is everything you should know if you sense layoffs are happening at your workplace. Don’t worry we have got your back, read on. 

A layoff policy is a set of guidelines and procedures that a company follows when reducing its workforce. In today's rapidly changing business environment, layoffs are becoming more common as companies strive to remain competitive and adjust to economic conditions. However, layoffs can have a significant impact on both the company and its employees, and it's important that they are managed in a responsible and ethical manner.

This year's layoffs have primarily been concentrated in the most vulnerable areas of the economy, particularly technology. However, depending on your industry, you may face a layoff if the economy slows further in 2023, and it's not always clear what you should expect from a soon-to-be-former company if they let you go.

Recent headlines have demonstrated how diverse corporate layoff policies can be, from Elon Musk's slash-and-burn strategy at Twitter to the lengths some CEOs will go to in publicly revealed letters on job cutbacks listing out the many benefits being provided to departing staff.

But there's a major issue: many employees don't know how to analyze a job separation agreement; in other words, they can't discern a fair layoff from an unfair one. Here are some tips for an employer-employee contract that no one wants to have, but it's better to be prepared for. A good layoff policy should take into account the following:

Layoff should be fair to all 

During a layoff process, it's essential for a company to express fairness to maintain the trust of its employees and to minimise the negative impact on morale.  The layoff process should be fair and impartial, based on objective criteria such as job performance and business needs, rather than discrimination or personal bias. 

This helps to ensure that the layoffs are perceived as fair by both the employees who are laid off and those who remain with the company. 

It’s important for companies to avoid discriminatory practices, such as laying off employees based on race, gender, age, or other protected characteristics. In fact, before implementing a layoff, companies should conduct a thorough review of their business needs to determine which positions are no longer necessary. This can help to reduce the number of layoffs and ensure that the layoffs are targeted to positions that are no longer essential to the company's operations.

Providing employees with advance notice of the layoffs, giving them time to prepare and make arrangements. This helps employees avoid financial hardship and reduces the stress and uncertainty they may feel.

Lastly, being respectful is the key. Companies should treat laid-off employees with respect, acknowledging their contributions and thanking them for their service. This helps maintain the dignity of employees and reduces the negative impact on morale.

There should be no secrets 

The company should clearly communicate the layoff process and criteria to employees in advance. This helps to reduce uncertainty and anxiety among employees, and can also increase their trust in the company and its management.

Companies should clearly communicate the reasons for the layoff and how it fits into the overall business strategy. This helps employees understand why the layoffs are necessary and reduces rumours and speculation.

Transparency about the criteria used to select employees for layoffs, such as performance, skills, and seniority. This helps ensure that the process is fair and that employees have a clear understanding of why they were or were not selected. 

The company must offer you a helping hand 

The company should provide support to laid-off employees, such as severance pay, outplacement services, or job search assistance. This helps employees to transition to new employment and reduces the financial impact of the layoff.

Severance pay is a financial benefit provided by an employer to an employee who has been laid off or terminated. It is a way for the employer to provide financial support to the employee during the transition period, and it typically consists of a lump sum payment based on the employee's length of service and salary.

Severance pay can help laid-off employees pay their bills, search for new employment, or cover living expenses while they're unemployed. However, it's important to note that not all employees are entitled to receive severance pay, as it is often determined by the terms of the employment contract, company policy, or applicable law.

In some countries, there are laws mandating the payment of severance pay to employees who have been laid off or terminated, but in others, there are no such requirements. In these cases, the payment of severance pay is a matter of agreement between the employer and employee or a matter of company policy.

Interestingly, if you're receiving a paycheck from the employer over a period of time, you can put "employee" on your resume. This is especially essential if you have only been with the organisation for a short period but you can list active employment for a little longer.

Everything should be communicated clearly 

Companies should maintain open communication with employees throughout the layoff process, including regular updates on the company's plans and progress. This helps to reduce uncertainty and anxiety among employees and maintain trust in the company and its management.

The company should communicate openly and honestly with employees about the reasons for layoffs and their impact on the organization. This helps to maintain employee morale and reduce rumours and speculation about the company's future.

If you are not being notified about the layoffs beforehand, know that your employer has to give you a notice on how long you have to before you stop going to work. During the process of documentation, before you sign anything, please take your time with it and read it. Take it to an employment lawyer. Sign when you are sure you will be taken care of after this layoff. 

Career assistance for a better future 

While severance compensation and health benefits are important, there are certain additional resources that firms may include in your layoff package and some that you can fight for if they are not initially included.

Companies can consider offering employee assistance programs, such as counselling or financial planning services, to help employees cope with the stress and uncertainty associated with a layoff. 

Helping employees understand the parts of the package that don't necessarily cost money or set huge precedents is vital because that's usually what HR is aiming to avoid, according to career experts. 

Companies may include outplacement benefits like resume evaluations, career coaching, and interview training in their severance packages.

Other benefits may include access to the company's alumni network and even access to internal resources such as lawyers for legal assistance. 

While these services are not normally provided by every organisation, you can and should always ask for what they require, and it helps if the cost is not too expensive. If you aren't given everything you need or believe you deserve based on your tenure and performance, everything is negotiable, just like a job offer.

While being laid off is never desirable and is often unexpected, you should always fight for what you need and deserve.

Layoffs should be consistent 

The company should apply its layoff policy consistently across all departments and employees, regardless of seniority or job role. This helps to maintain fairness and equity in the workforce and reduces the perception that certain groups of employees are being treated unfairly.

In conclusion, a good layoff policy is essential for managing workforce reductions in a responsible and ethical manner. 

It should be fair, and transparent, and provide support to both the company and its employees during the transition. By taking into account the considerations and steps outlined above you can make the most of being laid off and not suffer due to a sudden change in your work life. 

It’s important to understand that what a company decides to do for itself is not in your control and you could not have made it better or worse. Your role, however, is in knowing how to handle it, and how to take it further and get run over by it. As per many online reports, career experts have suggested that you should ask for whatever you deserve and who knows, you might just get it. 

It’s always better to know what you deserve and ask for it now rather than regretting it later on. Jobs may come and go but your skills and your talent are what remain with you that will take you to greater heights. So don’t worry, move on. There is always a brighter side. Good luck! 

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