In a 2008 global study of severance packages, it turns out that U.S. workers received the least amount of severance pay of 28 countries worldwide. Maury Hanigan founded Layoffcoach.com to highlight severance options and negotiation strategies, identifying where your employer may be most willing to bend.
“They may not have a lot of legal leverage. A lot of people think that they can sue their employer if they don’t get the severance they want, and very few of them realize that there is no federal law requiring any severance. But the way they are treated when they are layed off will have a big impact on the morale of the people who still work there. And also in this age of social networks, it’s very easy to damage someone’s reputation as employer of choice, and all companies hope that they’re going to turn around and be in a position to hire again, so they don’t want a lot of negative information out there on the Web.”
Hanigan recommends identifying the resources your employer has that will help you find a new job.
“Everything from giving them access to their e-mail list, so they can tell their colleagues that they are looking for opportunities and can update contact information, to the other extreme. I mean, in some cases we’ve seen employers actually run job fairs or send out resumes of individuals that they’ve laid off to try to help those people get employed. There’s obviously all the outplacement opportunities. There’s a lot an employer could do that doesn’t cost the employer a lot of many but can help the individual find a new job quickly.”
Hanigan cautions, though, that employers are genuinely facing tough times and not in a position to be overly generous.
Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.