QA My company just experienced [a round of] layoffs. They told us to expect more by the middle of the year. I was surprised to learn that an employee does have some leverage in negotiating their severance package. Should I be part of the next round of cuts, how can I find out what I'm entitled to?
--C. John Atlanta
The human resources department should have the policy on severance packages outlined in the company manual. But according to Dr. Richard Bayer, economist, author, and COO of the career counseling organization, The Five O'Clock Club, most companies don't follow them because they are out of date. "Years ago, when a person worked 20 years for a company, he or she received one week's pay for every year of service; and that would be a considerable amount," explains Bayer. "Today, most people don't stay with companies that long. If you've been with a company for four years, four weeks pay isn't even an option."