Go Woke, Go Broke: Laid Off Twitter Employees Receive Smaller Severance Payments than Promised
Laid Off Twitter employees have recently received their severance pay, however, it was significantly less than promised and in many cases sent directly to employees’ spam email inboxes. When Elon Musk announced layoffs, he said employees would receive “three months of severance compensation,” but the packages emailed out only include one month of severance pay.
Fortune reports that Twitter employees laid off in November 2020 have finally received their official severance agreements, although the compensation is less than many expected. According to sources familiar with the situation, the agreements were sent out by a third-party service provider called CPT Group on Saturday, January 9, 2023, after multiple delays. Not all former employees received the agreements, and many of the emails ended up in spam folders.
The layoffs were made after Elon Musk took control of the social media giant in late October 2022, with about three-fourths of the company’s 7,500-strong workforce being let go. At the time, Musk tweeted that those affected would receive “three months of severance compensation.” However, the agreements sent out on January 9 provide laid-off US employees with just one month of base pay as severance.
The Los Angeles Times reported that previous Twitter leadership had pledged to offer at least two months’ worth of severance pay, prorated performance bonuses, extended visa support, money for health care continuation, and the cash value of equity that would vest within three months. However, the agreements do not include any additional compensation. Some employees did receive COBRA, which is money for health insurance continuation, but it is not clear how many were affected.
Employees who were laid off in November have been kept on the payroll and paid their regular salaries for the past 60 days due to requirements of the federal WARN Act, which requires companies to give a 60-day notice before mass layoffs. Although these workers were removed from Twitter’s internal systems in November, they were formally laid off on January 4 in accordance with the law.
Many affected employees were unhappy with the agreements they received, with one stating that it was “about one-third of what he contractually owes us based on his purchase agreement.” It is not yet clear why only some of the impacted employees received their agreements, but sources have pointed out some hiccups in the process. For example, those who received their agreements on January 9 were provided with a unique login and directed to visit a domain. But, the domain was set up just five hours before the agreements went out and did not have Twitter’s name in it, causing many to suspect it was a phishing attempt.
The former employees were able to log in and view their severance agreement with the option to sign or opt out of the agreement. The severance website has an accompanying FAQ page stating that impacted employees can anticipate payment within 45 days of their signed agreement. A downloadable “Additional FAQs” document confirms that employees will not be receiving performance bonus payments, which were set to be paid out in March, and that there will be “no negotiation of the agreement or the severance amount listed.”
As many as 5,500 laid-off Twitter employees were set to receive the official severance agreements, according to Fortune. Fortune reached out to Twitter for comment but did not receive an immediate reply.