IBM plans lump-sum severance for those laid off

Pay and benefits detailed for workers due to get laid off Thursday

The severance package IBM is expected to give employees selected for a layoff includes a lump-sum severance payment, as well as counseling and financial planning services.

IBM is expected on Thursday to lay off as many as 4,000 to 5,000 employees in its global business services unit, according to the Alliance@IBM.

This particular severance package, distributed tonight by the union, lists employees -- by title and age alone -- in the applications services unit that have been selected for the layoff. The number affected is 1,674 in total.

The company has already cut some 4,000 workers in a number of business units this year, according to the alliance.

This is some of what laid-off employees are slated to receive:

  • A lump-sum separation payment equal to one week of pay for each fully completed six months of service based on the most recent date of hire, with a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of 26 weeks.
  • Eligibility for a continued IBM subsidy for medical coverage. The coverage period is three months for less than five years of service; six months for five or more years but less than 25 years of service; and 12 months for 25 or more years of service. Transitional group life insurance follows a similar formula.
  • Outplacement and career counseling, with reimbursement of up to $2,500 for job-related skills training completed within 12 months of departure date, among other services.
  • The ability to apply for other jobs within IBM, as well as take jobs overseas. The company said overseas work, which will be paid at local rates, "may not appeal to everyone, but it can be a good fit for IBMers who are interested in broadening their skills by living and working abroad, or for those with a cultural or heritage link to one of the countries where positions are open."

IBM is not commenting but has described prior job actions only in the most general terms as part of its ongoing shift to changing business needs. The severance package indicates the layoffs are being used to "resolve resource imbalances."

The alliance, a Communications Workers of America local, believes IBM is laying off workers as part of a shift in work to India and Asia Pacific.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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