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I'm being offered a promotion, with a modest pay-rise and a change in terms, and my boss is really excited and happy to announce that as part of the promotion I get the added bonus of eligibility for an 'Exit Incentive'

I've never heard the term, and they're not announcing what they actually mean by the exit incentive until the end of the month, and I'm getting cryptic answers about what it is, they seem to think it's great news...

Having read about it online the only reference I can see to an Exit Incentive relates to some form of voluntary redundancy package ("an exit incentive is a payment to an employee in return for the employee’s voluntary resignation").

Is there something else they might mean?

I understand the benefits for someone who wants to leave the organisation, but why would they promote me and make me eligible for this on the same day? I'm getting mixed messages about my future at the company to say the least.

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    Rule of thumb: If you're not sure, ask them. If they're not sure, it's not worth considering. – Sourav Ghosh Mar 19 at 15:58
  • So if the company had to lay off a number of its staff, you would get a big bonus by volunteering to be sacrificed? – user34587 Mar 19 at 16:01
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    We can't read your boss's mind - you should really be asking them, not us. – David K Mar 19 at 16:04
  • Some people like to have the option to be able to get a payoff to quit their job. – user1666620 Mar 19 at 16:04
  • They're planning to announce it at the end of the month with everyone present. Why would they say, "Let's congratulate NewUser for his promotion. Everyone give him a round of an applause as he pack his stuff and leaves with this very nice exit incentive package! Job well done!" – Dan Mar 19 at 17:16
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Is there something else they might mean?

There's always going to be some guessing here - but I'd imagine from the context (not announcing it until later on) this is nothing to do with your exit from the company, but instead about the CEO's "exit strategy" for the business as a whole. It's a bizarre term, though.

It could well be that he's working towards making the business attractive to a potential large buyer, and wants to incentivise senior employees to do so by offering them a cash incentive if the business is successfully sold.

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    That would make a great deal of sense, we are owned by a private equity firm and they have mentioned the possibility of some form of buy-out in the near future. I'll put my round-the-world cruise plans on hold until I know more. – NewUser1984 Mar 19 at 16:15
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    This. Any acquiring firm would want to be able to put their own leadership in place, and not be hampered by contractual obligations to existing executives. – Wesley Long Mar 19 at 17:08
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    These are sometimes called golden parachutes. Management gets handed a bunch of money if they're ever asked to leave their post (as they may be if the company is bought out). It's treated as a significant benefit because most lower level staff wouldn't receive such a large lump sum bonus if/when they're laid off (although they may get a smaller severance package). Hence the name - employees get a "normal" parachute when they're kicked out the door (severance), no one is doomed to die. But management gets a parachute that's valuable beyond just preventing instant death. – dwizum Mar 19 at 17:31
  • @dwizum it might be something like the UKS EMI share options which are super tax advantaged – Neuromancer Mar 19 at 20:32
  • @WesleyLong are you sure the UK isn't the USA - TUPE applies in most cases – Neuromancer Mar 19 at 23:44
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Let's look at simplicity here. They're not going to give you a promotion and then immediately turn around and get rid of you. They're especially not going to do that with a bonus on top. There is no world where that makes sense for a company.

@berry120's idea may be correct, in which case they're talking about some incentive around an exit other than yours. The fact that details will be made clearer in an announcement at the end of the month adds a bit more credibility to the idea. Alternately, it might be something written into your contract that says that if they get rid of you, they have to give you some minimum severance package.

Regardless, they're offering you a promotion. That means they want you around for right now, and they appreciate your work. If you do lose the job, it'll be because the company drops out from under you, rather than due to being laid off yourself, and from the sounds of things, if that happens, you'll get a notable chunk of cash to float you through your next job search. One way or the other, you don't need to worry about it.

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