Thursday, February 03, 2011

Layoffs | Explaining GCI's transition pay benefits

Amid a fresh round of layoffs among three N.J. newspapers this week, readers are once more asking about benefits paid to laid-off Gannett workers. Starting with the massive July 2009 layoffs, the company replaced traditional severance with what it calls the transition pay plan. From Corporate's FAQ, supplied today by a kind Gannett Blog reader:

Q. What are the TPP benefits?
A. The TPP provides one week of benefit for every year of service up to a maximum of 36 weeks. There is a minimum of three weeks and all payments are offset by state unemployment benefits. When you combine the TPP benefit with the state benefit you will receive an amount equivalent to 100% of your former weekly pay.

Q. Why is Gannett adopting this plan?
A. The plan provides a substantial benefit to employees as they transition from Gannett to a new job. It also allows Gannett to reduce its transition costs. Many major U.S. companies with employees in multiple states provide this benefit. Some of them are General Electric, PNC, Goodyear, Maytag and Levi Strauss.

Related: read and download the full three-page FAQ


  1. Thank you for this info since it is conspicuously missing from the Gannett intranet. I think it's crazy you have to apply for TPP every week. What a hassle. I haven't even been at Gannett six years. Makes me wonder if it's even worth applying for when I'm only eligible for a little over a month's worth of severance.

    And they should've left the part out about TPP being a "benefit" to employees since in the next sentence they admit it's to save them money.

    I checked my state's unemployment site to see if receiving severance would disqualify me from receiving benefits, and the answer was that couldn't be determined until I had actually filed. Has anyone had problems receiving unemployment because you also received severance?

  2. I worry about the implication that the administrator of the TPP is able to access our unemployment accounts to make sure we actually collected that week.
    Some of us may be able to make a few bucks from Patch or elsewhere now and then. Does that disqualify us from getting the TPP?
    And if we ever get really lucky and take in more than unemployment, making us ineligible for a given week, does the TPP stop only for that week or forever? It's unclear from the paperwork we received.
    Why not just calculate and cut one check and be done with it, instead of paying a company who knows how much to manage all these intricacies?
    Oh, right, because we are cheap and heartless, and don't want to compensate loyal longtime employees when we could use the money to pay those in the dark tower in VA

  3. layoff insurance, plain and simple. If we had a source inside the company that does this, we'd know all the businesses that are about to cut payroll. it makes me sick to think about it.

  4. I feel your pain. I am a 26 year newspaper veteran that also worked for Gannett (13 years) at one point in my life. It will never change. You are right! It is about the bottom dollar. Oh now, don't forget about the lavish meetings that will still be held costing thousands.

  5. Worked for a Gannet Daily once and we had a marketing opportunity to publish a regional gaming publication. We didn't because the publisher said that once we got it off the ground corporate would take it over. So who lost? And I have been to one of the lavish dinners in the ivory towers of Virginia...all of this reminds me of, "...and let them eat cake!" Also know someone who is familiar with their finances...told me that "they may not make it."

  6. TPP sucks. Gannett tells you to lie to unemployment and say you are not receiving an income so you can receive unemployment benefits. They tell you that TPP is from a trust and therefore not truly income. But, wait until you do your income taxes. All of a sudden this TPP is income. The state taxes Gannett did not take out because they wanted you to get state unemployment and not show income now have to be PAID. You end up oweing money to the state on all of the TPP money you got. Screwed one last time by Gannett. I hope they go out of business. They are horrible people who treat there employees like dirt. I worked there for 30 years and was let go when they downsized and closed my department. They told us as we were being laid off what a good thing this was for the company....really???? And by the way, time to get a new catch phrase....I mean every memo uses moving forward, or going forward.....ridiculous!! The company is moving forward so much that my job moved right out the door.....

  7. Thanks for the warning, 1:55 pm. I have filed for unemployment, and the state says I am eligible. Yes, it's a pain to update it each week. Yes, I would really like to just find a new job and be done with this. However, I will take everything I can.
    I just looked at my first TPP statement, though, and there is a withholding for federal and state income tax. It might not be enough, but they are withholding.


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