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About a month ago I had posted this question about being put on a PIP:

recently-put-on-a-performance-improvement-plan-do-these-details-sound-fair

So here's my question today. I'm still at the company and still on the PIP, but I really don't care to be here anymore and I feel like it's a waste of the company's time and my time. As much as I would like to just quit and be done with it, I can't just leave with nothing to bridge the gap financially until I figure things out (Disqualified for unemployment if I quit voluntarily). So I was wondering if asking for some type of severance pay would be out of line in this situation? I figure it's a win-win. The company is wasting time and money keeping me on while we drag this thing out, so if they gave me a small severance to just part ways, then they don't have to deal with it anymore nor do they have to pay for my unemployment insurance. Thoughts?

Edit:

Ok let's forget the severance part for a minute. Basically all this comes down to is that I'd rather end all this now rather than drag it out, but I'd like to be able to at least get unemployment which is why I'm trying to hold out until they let me go. What if I just lay it out on the table for my boss, that this PIP isn't going well and I think it's time for me to move on (which he would agree with). Assuming I did this, basically telling him I want to just quit and be done, is there generally a way to negotiate it so that I can still collect unemployment? In other words, rather than an outright quit on my part, more of an agreed upon layoff or something to that affect?

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    I'm assuming you are currently looking for other jobs? Even with a severance, I have never thought it wise to quit a job before having another one lined up. – David K Jun 19 '15 at 13:09
  • Sort of. I'm doing web design/development on the side for small businesses when I have time. I would take a crack at doing that fulltime when the time comes to leave this job. – yankees13 Jun 19 '15 at 13:42
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    @stuter12 As far as starting to freelance, what will be different a month from now? If you're going to go there anyway, why not just get started? Or is it in the back of your mind that you won't be able to make it work just yet? – Kent A. Jun 19 '15 at 13:47
  • @KentAnderson Excellent question haha. Yes that is the problem. I was actually planning to put in a notice yesterday but didn't. I've been on the verge of doing it for a couple weeks now. Discussed everything with my wife, crunched the financials, and I do have time to make it work. So I guess I shouldn't say 'I can't just leave with nothing to bridge the gap financially', it's more that I'm used to the dangling carrot of a corporate paycheck, even if it means I'm unhappy. My wife and I have talked it through thoroughly, so I'm trying to get over it and just take the leap. – yankees13 Jun 19 '15 at 14:05
  • @stuter12 Your edits about how to leave a job and still collect unemployment are verging onto legal territory. I suggest you consult a lawyer. – David K Jun 19 '15 at 19:37
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So I was wondering if asking for some type of severance pay would be out of line in this situation? I figure it's a win-win. The company is wasting time and money keeping me on while we drag this thing out, so if they gave me a small severance to just part ways, then they don't have to deal with it anymore nor do they have to pay for my unemployment insurance. Thoughts?

I suppose nothing is "out of line" in this situation. But I sincerely doubt you will be successful.

Depending on local laws and the policies within your company, you are on a path to be released at some point soon. When you are released, it's unlikely you will get any severance, unless it was already specifically indicated in the Performance Improvement Plan you signed.

Asking the company to "give me some money and I'll go away now" may very well accelerate the process of releasing you, but may very well not get you any extra money (again depending on laws and policies).

I don't know how long the formal Performance Improvement Process plays out in your company, but in most companies that I know, a few more weeks should end things. If you haven't yet been able to "figure things out" after more than a month, my advice is to stick it out to the end and work harder at figuring. If you haven't already been looking for your next job during the past weeks, you need to get that going quickly.

If you do choose to take the "pay me to go away" path, consider carefully how much you will ask for, before you make the offer.

Edit:

Ok let's forget the severance part for a minute. Basically all this comes down to is that I'd rather end all this now rather than drag it out, but I'd like to be able to at least get unemployment which is why I'm trying to hold out until they let me go.

Again, this is unlikely.

The benefit to you is clear, but how would this benefit the company?

I don't know the specific legalities of this (I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on television), but I've not seen such an approach be successful after a PIP.

  • My understanding is that if I'm doing the best I can and it's not insubordination or misconduct, I can collect unemployment if I'm let go at the end of the PIP. Maybe I'm wrong, but my question is based on the assumption that I can. So having said that, it benefits the company because instead of wasting time going through another month of PIP meetings and leaving me on payroll, we can end it now with the same outcome, which is that I leave and collect unemployment. With the added benefit of less wasted time on their part. – yankees13 Jun 19 '15 at 17:40
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A severance package isn't a "Gift." It's compensation for something the company expects from you. Usually that's an agreement not to file for unemployment benefits by calling it a "voluntary termination." (This keeps the employer's unemployment insurance premiums lower.) Sometimes it may also include a non-compete / non-solicit agreement (which are enforceable if there is compensation).

However, it sounds like your employer has already prepared for an involuntary termination. There is (likely) no benefit to them in getting a severance agreement from you. Your chances are slim.

Honestly, your best bet would be to offer to leave now with no additional compensation in exchange for a "neutral" reference, where they agree to confirm dates of employment, title, and salary only, but not discuss your performance issues.

  • Yes they have already prepared the involuntary termination by starting this process. My point is simply that if it's going to happen, I want to at least have the opportunity for unemployment. I want to just quit and get this over with, but then I'm unqualified for unemployment. Would it be worth it for me to just go to him and say 'look lets just end this now, I want to quit, you want me to quit, can we do it in a way where I can at least file for unemployment?'. – yankees13 Jun 19 '15 at 17:12
  • In other words, I don't care about additional compensation, all I want is unemployment. I'm not specifically looking for a severance package. I want to quit rather than drag this out and I'm just curious if it's worth discussing with him the option of ending things now in a way that allows me to collect benefits for the time being. – yankees13 Jun 19 '15 at 17:17
  • I hate to tell you this, but if they can demonstrate that you were terminated with cause, that can be used to defend against your unemployment claim. (At least in the US in the states I've had to learn the rules for). That's part of what a PIP is about. – Wesley Long Jun 19 '15 at 17:18
  • My understanding was that as long as you're doing the best you can and it's not gross misconduct or insubordination, you can still qualify, no? – yankees13 Jun 19 '15 at 17:20
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    @Stuter12 - not the place to get into the details, but if they challenge your claim, there's an arbitration process (Depends on where you are as to how it works). Search your state's Dept. of Employement website for "Unemployment claim appeal." – Wesley Long Jun 19 '15 at 17:24
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If you are in a country where a PIP is required before you can be fired, your company will likely embrace letting you go early with some severance. They may even be hoping for this outcome as it would preclude the possible risk of you suing them for wrongful termination.

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