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Shame on me for taking the fine print for granted
Old 11-12-2013, 08:34 AM   #1
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Shame on me for taking the fine print for granted

Having accepted a voluntary layoff, under amicable terms I separated from Mega-corp last October. Part of the separation agreement was a severance payout which equated to one week of pay for each full year of service. This is the definition of “Week of Pay” right out of the layoff agreement:

Quote:
Week of Pay =The hourly base rate of pay, plus Any applicable cost of living adjustment (excluding shift differentials or other premiums), multiplied by The number of normally scheduled part-time or full-time hours in a work week, up to a maximum of 40 hours.
Looking at that I thought, sweet, that's $X dollars per hour times Y years times 40 hours per week.

Lo and behold I received my severance check last week to find it to be only HALF of what I had expected. Why only half? It was explained to me by payroll that because on the date that I accepted the VLO I was on the books as a part-time employee. I had gone part-time in an effort to help both parties, Mega-corp and myself, get used to the idea of me not being around anymore. So much for best intentions.

Shame on you Mega-corp. Shame on me for not asking specific questions about the payout.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:39 AM   #2
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If it's any consolation to you, if I get layed off I don't get any severence.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:42 AM   #3
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It might perhaps be worthwhile to contact your former managers and explain the situation, especially if you were on good terms with them. If you voluntarily went to half-time temporarily to help out the company, they might go to bat for you with HR. You have nothing to lose at this point.

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Old 11-12-2013, 08:44 AM   #4
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:45 AM   #5
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How long had you been part-time at the point you VLOd? Were you 50% part time?

If it had only been a short period of time then you have a legitimate gripe and should appeal, especially since the definition isn't specific as to whether the normally scheduled hours is at the time you signed the VLO or for a particular period (for example, a year) prior to signing the VLO.

You could always threaten to take them to court and then negotiate a settlement, depending on whether you care about the relationship with Mega and other ties you have to Mega. You could legitimately claim that there was not a meeting of the minds.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:54 AM   #6
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Proving once again that your company loves loved you...
Yeah. It seems to add more credibility to the theory that large employers are more focused on the benefit to the stockholder than to the stakeholder (company, employee, customer, supplier.)
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:56 AM   #7
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:12 AM   #8
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that's a tough one Zedd. Think I would have a chat with an attorney and send some sort of letter to HR. Not sure it will get you anywhere but it is certainly worth a try. Guess this is another reason to have someone cross check agreements like this before you sign. Good luck!
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:20 AM   #9
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.... Guess this is another reason to have someone cross check agreements like this before you sign. Good luck!
Absolutely. Having now paid the "stupid" tax perhaps others will learn from this as well.
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:33 AM   #10
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I'm shocked that companies today would even pay out that kind of severance.

The most I've ever gotten was two weeks, and that was after signing an agreement stating I wouldn't sue them for any reason.

I would never expect to get one week for every year I'd been someplace. Of course, the longest I've ever been some place was only six years. I could never stand any place I've worked to go longer than that. Here in Silicon Valley, the average seems to be about three years before jumping ship.
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Old 11-12-2013, 02:35 PM   #11
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I'm shocked that companies today would even pay out that kind of severance.
Twelve years ago, I got two weeks of full pay for each year worked. I considered it generous at the time, but I guess now it would be extremely generous.
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Old 11-12-2013, 02:46 PM   #12
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Twelve years ago, I got two weeks of full pay for each year worked. I considered it generous at the time, but I guess now it would be extremely generous.
I worked for twenty four years for one company. At first we had a policy of one month severance for each year worked. That was cut back to two weeks for every year worked. They ultimately eliminated that although I refused to have it removed from my employment contract and after some push back they agreed. Glad they did....collected almost a year's salary (48 weeks) when I left as even though I wasn't severed the clause was written that I would be paid the severance for any reason other than "termination for cause".
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Old 11-12-2013, 02:55 PM   #13
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So you quit voluntarily and were still able to collect? if so, that was generous.
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:04 PM   #14
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So you quit voluntarily and were still able to collect? if so, that was generous.
Yep, think they just considered it deferred comp. It was in the contract so not much they could do but pay it. At one point about 12 years in I asked if they wanted to pay it as part of my contract renewal. They opted not to so it continued to accrue and as my salary increased it grew and grew.

I'm sure some HR person got yelled at when they had to cut the check.
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:11 PM   #15
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I suspected that I would be terminated and actually looked forward to it. I was ready to retire and was financially secure.

Prior to getting the tap on the shoulder so to speak, I canvassed colleagues in the business for the name of a good labor lawyer.

When I got the tap, I turned it over to the lawyer to review the paperwork and the negotiate a 'proper' termination agreement.

Best thing I ever did. And the lawyer built his fee into the settlement. Included in that agreement were some items pertaining to a DB pension that I did not intend to take for a few years but wanted to ensure that the length of my termination settlement and other enhancements were included in the same termination agreement.

I am a huge believer in never being reluctant to pay for good, professional advice. It has always paid off in spades for me. The trick has been to find the right professional for the issue at hand.
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:25 PM   #16
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I am surprised that they did not have an amount on your severance package telling you the actual number...


I do think that it makes a difference in some people's minds as to how long you were part time.... IOW, if you had just move to part time, you were screwed... if you had moved 6 months ago... then maybe not.... if you moved a full year ago, not at all....
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:57 PM   #17
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File that under "no good deed goes unpunished" when it comes to dealing with mega corp.
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:20 PM   #18
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Yeah. It seems to add more credibility to the theory that large employers are more focused on the benefit to the stockholder than to the stakeholder (company, employee, customer, supplier.)
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Yeah. It seems to add more credibility to the theory that large employers are more focused on the benefit to the stockholder than to the stakeholder (company, employee, customer, supplier.)
When I worked for MegaCorp it was TOTALLY about the profits. Employees were a cost. They started a program about 5 years before I left to load up on new college grads. When somebody retired with 35 years experience, they slide a kid with 1-2 yrs experience into that slot and hope for the best while counting the money they saved.

That's just one of many, many examples.
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Old 11-13-2013, 01:23 AM   #19
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I know a friend who was on maternity leave but was asked to come back part-time early. She obliged, only to find that that was the week they used to calculate a previously unannounced pension plan conversion to a cash balance plan, and by working part-time her payout was half what it would have been had she stayed on leave. No amount of appeal or logic ever prevailed and even with her boss and boss's boss appealing megacorp stuck to their calculation. Lesson learned: megacorp will generally do whatever is in megacorp's best interests, not any employee's.
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:24 AM   #20
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I know a friend who was on maternity leave but was asked to come back part-time early. She obliged, only to find that that was the week they used to calculate a previously unannounced pension plan conversion to a cash balance plan, and by working part-time her payout was half what it would have been had she stayed on leave. No amount of appeal or logic ever prevailed and even with her boss and boss's boss appealing megacorp stuck to their calculation. Lesson learned: megacorp will generally do whatever is in megacorp's best interests, not any employee's.
Given that her bosses went to bat for her you really think that it was some sort of grand conspiracy to screw her? IMO that's ridiculous - it sounds more like an unfortunate unintended consequence to me. Why didn't she take them to court?
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