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Here's the top 5 things you need to do first!
If you have never been laid off before, right now can be especially stressful and confusing as more and more people are being laid off or furloughed from their jobs.
There are so many factors that come into play when companies process reductions in force (RIF’s) and it can be overwhelming to understand how all this may apply to you if fall into this category during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently companies are trying to send the message that “jobs matter” by implementing alternatives to layoffs including cutting wages, reducing indirect benefits, suspending salary increases/bonuses/pensions, reducing hours, offering sabbaticals or unpaid leave, etc.
We all need to understand how this process may look for us given the nature of the pandemic as well as federal and state laws so we are prepared and not caught off guard.
For most organizations, layoffs are planned to happen quickly by design and I’ve handled many employees who are caught off guard and don’t even think of what to ask until after they are out the door and it’s too late.
Based on my HR experience of processing multiple RIFs, layoffs, terminations, etc., I have developed this article to help you focus on the top 5 essential areas you will need to address first so you can avoid the most common pitfalls I’ve seen others take after being let go.
1. File for unemployment.
If you are let go because of the pandemic odds are strong that you qualify for unemployment. In fact, the federal government has recently changed unemployment regulations so states have more flexibility on who is eligible. However, you will still want to check with your state since each one is a bit different.
2. Know what will be in your last paycheck.
It’s important to have clarity on your financial situation until you can make other arrangements or secure another job. HR is very careful with final paychecks to ensure they are compliant with state law and company policy to avoid penalties so they will easily have this information on hand.
3. Understand how long you will have benefits.
Most companies will keep your health benefits active for the remainder of the month due to invoicing schedules when you are let go.
4. Get clear on any additional pay or services.
Many ask about severance pay which is not likely if you are furloughed and doesn’t typically apply in a RIF unless the employer is simply trying to help. A common mistake is to misunderstand the purpose of a typical severance and try to negotiate one that is offered during a crisis.
5. Develop a job search and networking plan.
Make sure your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile are updated and tailored for your next target job.
There is obviously so much more to getting laid off than what this article addresses. It can look very different depending on a variety circumstances and your personal situation. However, these are the 5 essentials areas everyone needs to consider first should they find themselves laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Have questions? Feel free to grab time on my calendar. Happy to help!