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My current position is at a large-ish company that has a well-defined process for laying off or re-allocating employees when a project is terminated. This process is called "reassignment" and it works like this: You (the employee) is relieved from your normal work duties for a period of time, a couple of months typically. During this reassignment period, your work job is to find another job, hopefully with this company but also maybe external depending on everyones needs. If you haven't found another internal position at the end of reassignment, then you are let go with a small severance pay.

It looks like my new job will be 100% remote, but I have several weeks left on my reassignment before I get laid off and then get my severance. I have transitioned all of my responsibilities at the old job and they do not expect me to come in the office. I don't want to resign early (lose the severance pay) but it's frustrating to just cool my heels when I could start at my new position already.

These companies are not competing and I don't believe there is a conflict of interest between them.

What problems am I inviting if I start my new job before being laid off my old one? Legal problems or will it damage my professional reputation? Who does my current employer report my start and end date to and are they allowed to share that information with just anyone?

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    Have you discussed this with your HR department? I can't see why they wouldn't let you go early with your severance pay - saves them your salary for the next few weeks. – Philip Kendall Feb 21 '18 at 22:35
  • Cant you just start the new job as you are on gardening leave ok having 2 jobs at once complicates your tax return a little. – Neuromancer Feb 22 '18 at 17:13
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    IAMNAL but to me this sounds dangerously close to fraudulent behavior.. at the very least extremely unprofessional. In a nutshell: rather than perform the work for which you are being paid (looking for your next contracting gig), you are attempting to game the system by only pretending to do this work in order to recieve financial benefit to which you are no longer entitled. You need to read your employment contract for details but I would be very surprised if there wasn't specific language barring this type of behavior. – DanK Feb 23 '18 at 8:35
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If you got a new job you should let your current employer know.

It's dishonest if you are trying to get the severance while already received a new position. That severance is the last resort for people that will have trouble in their future employment which is certainly not your case. Specific programs like these should be honored imo.

If you try to dip your hand on that severance, you may face legal consequences if you signed contracts stating what you mentioned above. Your contract may state that severance package will only be granted if the employee attempts to look for another job during a period and was unsuccessful. If this is not stated in your contract but communicated through one on one discussion, then it may not be a legal issue but a moral one.

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    Sorry I don't agree. I think you are conflating severance with unemployment. The severance pay is to keep laid off employees from suing. It doesn't come from the government or tax payers, it comes from the private company. Unemployment pay is for people who have a hard time finding a new job. – user83155 Feb 21 '18 at 23:15
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    This is from your post: " During this reassignment period, your work job is to find another job, hopefully with this company but also maybe external depending on everyones needs. If you haven't found another internal position at the end of reassignment, then you are let go with a small severance pay." It's pretty clear what your company intends. GL – Isaiah3015 Feb 21 '18 at 23:18
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    wow, you read a lot of implicit meaning into that. I will just tell you that your interpretation does not match what I meant with those words. – user83155 Feb 21 '18 at 23:28
  • I really don't know what I'm misinterpreting here based on what you wrote. If you can clarify what you meant and edit your post on specifically what state in your severance contract + new job, then maybe more people will be able to provide an answer you are looking for. – Isaiah3015 Feb 22 '18 at 14:25
  • I don't understand this answer, it seems to confuse unemployment insurance payments with the company paying a severance package. The two are totally different things. – DLS3141 Feb 22 '18 at 19:45
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Depending on your exact contract and location, you might be inviting some issues with taxes (if both of your companies pay taxes on your behalf, for example) and you might get in more serious trouble if you have an accident and both companies have health insurance coverage for you.

Additionally, either of your contract may includes terms such as "you are restricted from working for other companies during your period with us", in which case you might also get in trouble for that when they find out. Your old contract/employee handbook probably also includes something about the transition period ending when you find a new job, which you would also be in violation of.

And yes, this is very unprofessional. Your current company is doing you a service by continuing to pay your salary while you get a new job, even though you don't do anything useful for them right now. And your idea of thanking them is by milking that salary while you already have a new job lined up.

  • this answer is am afraid useless - your being made redundant your on gardening leave why would you not start work with the other employer - this isn't India with laws about having more than one job – Neuromancer Feb 22 '18 at 17:15
  • I don't think you understand the issue here @Neuromancer. Please read the post again. This answer is definitely viable. The OP's situation is that he wants the severance package while already accepted a new job at a different company. In which, the severance package (as stated per OP) is only eligible to people that were not able to find new jobs. The question is, what legal consequences will OP face if he gets the package. – Isaiah3015 Feb 22 '18 at 17:18
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    @Isaiah3015 you get severance if you "can't find a new role at your current employer" not a third party! - its you that needs to read the OP's Q – Neuromancer Feb 22 '18 at 17:25
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    @Neuromancer.. uhhhh.. what do you think he is trying to do? He wants to stay at his old job, wanting to look like he didn't qualify for a new role in his current company, get the severance, while he accepted a new role for another position to a different company. Regardless of how you look into it, that package qualifies only for people that couldn't find a role. If you have a better answer, please post your own. – Isaiah3015 Feb 22 '18 at 18:31
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First, don't start on new job before being relived from your current job.

After that your answer is easy, in terms of what you need to do. Calculate the money you would get from your new job if you joined right now by quitting your current job with the money you will get by sticking around in your current job till the mandatory termination date + severance pay.

If the former is more, quit your current job right now and join the new job; otherwise wait till termination.

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Follow your employer's process and pay attention to the rules on outside employment, which is what your new job would be. As long as you are:

  • Fulfilling the requirements of your current position regarding your duties while on "reassignment"
  • Are complying with their rules about external employment.

I don't see a problem with starting your new job before leaving your current one, it's no different than taking a job delivering pizzas in the evenings to earn some extra cash.

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