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Financial Wellness Check: Layoff Fears. Know What to Expect.

I remember feeling blindsided from both of my layoff experiences (13 years apart). It is not a good feeling.

No one wants to "prepare" for a layoff, but it doesn't hurt to know what to expect if it does happen to you.

1) Notification: A layoff should not happen over the phone or via text message! You should receive a formal notification of your layoff from your employer. This is typically a face-to-face conversation or a written communication. The face-to-face could also involve HR.

2) Explanation: Your employer will typically provide a reason for the layoff, for example, restructuring, downsizing, budget cuts, etc. Of course, regardless of the explanation, it will sting! Still, the information can help you understand the context of your layoff.

3) Final Paycheck: You should receive your final paycheck for hours worked, unpaid wages, and any accrued vacation days, in accordance with company policies.

4) Benefits: This is one of the most important details included in your layoff package. It explains how your healthcare coverage, retirement plans, and other benefits will be affected. You employer may offer to extend your benefits under COBRA or a company specific program.

5) Severance Package: For salary employees, most companies offer some form of a severance package, for example, the equivalent of one week's pay for every year of service. The package is usually dependent on your income, length of service, and position in the company.

6) Access to Information: Expect to lose access to company systems and information, including email accounts, by the date noted as your last day of employment. Some layoff notifications are effective immediately, and doesn't leave you with any time to access information.

7) Return of Company Property: You will be required to return any company-owned property, such as cars, cell phones, laptops, and access cards. Some companies give laid off employees the option to purchase company property at a discounted price.

8) Non-Disclosure Agreements: If you work in a highly competitive industry, you can expect to receive an NDA and maybe even a non-compete document. Review it carefully because they may include items that impact you long after your layoff.

No one wants to hear they have been laid off, but knowing what to expect can reduce the anxiety and help you plan ahead.

Worried about the impact of a layoff on your finances? Schedule a complimentary 1:1 session.

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