Being made redundant is not a great feeling, and can often be a very difficult time for many people. Searching for new work, taking care of a family, or paying off a mortgage will become much harder for people out of work.
At Lensa, we have investigated where in the world it is the worst to be laid off, looking at notice periods for redundancy and unemployment rates, both contributing to how hard or easy it will be to find new work, and redundancy pay and rules, both of which contribute to how fairly the worker is treated in times of restructuring.
The worst countries to get laid off
- Puerto Rico – 1.07/10
Puerto Rico takes the crown as the worst country to be laid off in. In Puerto Rico, the law doesn’t guarantee you get any severance pay (even if you have worked somewhere for 10 years), and you can be dismissed without a notice period.
- United States – 1.12/10
The United States ranks as the second worst country to be laid off in. Out of nine possible redundancy laws, the US enforces just two of them. You also get no legally guaranteed severance pay or notice period.
- Nigeria – 1.19/10
In third place ranks Nigeria, with a 1.19/10 lay-off score. Nigeria enforces 4/9 redundancy rules, however, still does not guarantee you any severance package. You do at least get a notice period: 1 week for employees with 1 year of tenure and 4.3 for employees with over 5.
- New Zealand – 1.44/10
New Zealand comes in fourth place for the worst country to be laid off in. New Zealanders see no legally guaranteed severance pay or notice periods, and only 3 of 9 redundancy rules are enforced. Unemployment is relatively low, however, at 3.3%.
- Djibouti – 1.66/10
Completing this list of the top 5 worst places to lose your job is Djibouti with a lay-off score of 1.66/10. In Djibouti you are guaranteed a 4.3-week notice period if you have worked anywhere over a year, however, you get no guaranteed severance pay.
The other end of the scale
- Sierra Leone – 8.8/10
Sierra Leone ranks as the most up to par country for dealing with employee redundancies, earning a lay-off score of 8.8/10. You are guaranteed at least a 13-week notice period and employees with a 10-year tenure can secure a massive 132-week severance pay package.
- Egypt – 7.74/10
In Egypt, your guaranteed severance pay ranges from 4.3 weeks (with one year of tenure) to 54.2 weeks (with over 10 years of tenure). Egypt also enforces a good 7/9 of the possible redundancy rules.
- Moldova – 7.72/10
In third place is Moldova, where all employees with over a year tenure are given 8.7 weeks of notice and 12.9-18.6 weeks of severance pay. Moldova also sees a low unemployment rate of just 3%, meaning it should be easier to find new work compared to other countries.
- Paraguay – 7.27/10
Paraguay ranks as the 4th best country for dealing with employee lay-off. Paraguay actively enforces 6/9 redundancy rules and offers a healthy 42.9 weeks of redundancy pay to employees with over 10 years of service.
- Zimbabwe – 7.17/10
Rounding off our top five countries for dealing with employee redundancy is Zimbabwe, with a lay-off score of 7.17. Zimbabwe offers 13 weeks’ notice for all employees with over a year in service and between 4.3 and 21.7 weeks of redundancy pay depending on the length of tenure.
The companies who have laid off the most employees in 2022
- Ford – 8,000
As of July, Ford is planning to drop a massive 8,000 jobs. This is reportedly a result of Ford attempting to increase profits and fund its recent move into the electric-vehicle market. The layoffs are to occur in the unit responsible for producing internal combustion engines.
- LoanDepot – 2,000
Another company targeting increased profits is LoanDepot, which is planning to lay off 2,000 workers before the end of the year. Along with restructuring and selling real estate, the changes will generate an estimated $375 – $400 million in annualized savings.
- Peloton – 2,000
Peloton has already dropped 2,000 workers as of July 2022, and, in a rather condescending move, has offered those who have been made redundant a one-year subscription to Peloton as part of their severance package.
- Coinbase – 1,100
In June 2022, Coinbase’s CEO, Brian Armstrong, stated that the company “grew too quickly” and as a result, 1,100 have been made redundant, around 18% of its workforce. This is unsurprising, however, as Coinbase shares are down almost 80% this year.
- Invitae – 1,000
As part of a year-long restructuring plan, Invitae’s newly appointed CEO has declared that over 1,000 employees will be made redundant. This restructuring is expected to save Invitae hundreds of millions annually.
Differences in redundancy attitudes around the world
As can be seen from the data in this report, how countries legally enforce redundancies is vastly different around the world. We wanted to compare how the attitudes of some of the biggest global economies handle laying off their employees.
Europe and the United Kingdom
In both Europe and the United Kingdom, employers can only fire employees when they have a very good reason to. Europeans also tend to lay off older employees first, meaning younger employees are more likely to be kept on in times of restructuring.
The United States enacts a fast and impersonal approach to firing. Employees typically have short meetings with an HR manager to explain why they’ve been fired, and are often given just a few hours or days to pack up and leave.
Layoffs are rare in Japan and mass layoffs are seen as a taboo. This is due to the country’s lifetime employment system where full-time workers remain at any given company for many years. Japanese employees also have a legal right to reject early-retirement packages.
Germans typically develop close relationships with their coworkers, making severing ties more personal. As a result, Germany allows laid-off employees to remain where they are for many weeks following a firing, allowing them to finish up projects and begin job hunting.
The layoff rating was given to each country based on a combined ranking calculated from the seven factors listed in the table. The redundancy rules / 9 and all redundancy pay factors were taken from the World Bank (For a list of all 9 redundancy rules, see here).
Unemployment figures were taken from Trading Economics.
The companies who have laid off the most employees in 2022 data was taken from Intellizence.