COVID-19: How to help Retrenched Employees in their Career Transition

COVID-19, also known as SARS-CoV-2, is notorious not only for claiming lives⁠. Ir’s also known for taking people’s income sources.

You might have noticed some of the most badly hit industries had to downsize their operations on a full scale for the long-term. If you’re one of those companies, you might be wondering how you can help out your soon-to-be former employees handle unemployment during a pandemic.

Here’s how you can help retrenched employees during a career transition.

What is retrenchment?

Retrenchment is an authorized cause used to legally dismiss an employee to prevent serious losses from the company. This is different from redundancy, which legally dismisses employees due to excess manpower. Companies should only use this as a last resort.

According to Article 283 of the Philippine Labor Code, employers must be able to provide the following requirements:

  1. Valid proof that retrenchment will prevent reasonably imminent and substantial losses
  2. A written notice to the employee/s & the Ministry of Labor and Employment at least one month before the termination date
  3. Separation pay for retrenched employee/s equivalent to a month or a ½ month pay for every year of service
  4. Fair and reasonable criteria by the employer on who will stay and who to lay off
  5. Must be undertaken in good faith, such as providing valid evidence of cost-saving efforts in the past to continue operations
  6. Due to the current pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment has also released Labor Advisories 9 and 11, aiming to guide employers with other alternatives before resorting to downsizing.

How to handle retrenchment

Schedule a one-on-one session

Retrenchment can take an emotional toll on both sides, so there’s no better way to deal with it than having a private discussion with each affected employee. Allow them to voice out their concerns and try to respond in a clear yet respectful manner. At the same time, take this as an opportunity to remind them what the company does stand for.

Push for relevant virtual seminars

Keeping the morale high during a time like this can be challenging, but it’s a shot worth taking. Apart from exit interviews, you can invite employees to free virtual seminars or even hold one inside the company. Talk about topics that they’ll be interested in post-retrenchment, such as mental health, personal finance, networking, or career development.

Manage the team’s expectations

Laying off people, whether they’re just a handful or a large number, can stir up trouble where you don’t want to. Don’t let gossip turn into a lawsuit by clearing up the confusion right from the get-go. Explain the current situation in a simple and concise manner.

Provide valuable resources

Perhaps your employees may need more than just a pep talk. This is the best time to supplement your post-retrenchment plan by providing free and useful resources they’ll be interested in. Send out documents on self-care, career, and budgeting; Provide them with contact lines for counseling or assistance; list out government advisories that they’ll need during the job hunting process.

Retrenchment is never easy for anyone—transition employees and organizations to the right path with LHH Philippines today.

Lee Hecht Harrison is a respected institution known for its thought-provoking insights and globally competitive strategies in this changing world.

Get the help you need today by calling us at 0998-596-3391 or click here to shoot a message.


COVID-19: How to help Retrenched Employees in their Career Transition
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