Last week word broke that American was targeting letting go 30% of management and support staff. They were being offered voluntary departure packages, at 3 to 6 months at one-third pay. Hanging around and being terminated later wouldn’t be as good a deal.
Southwest Airlines, by contrast, is being really generous with its employees. They laid out their plan two weeks ago. And now they’ve shared voluntary separation options with employees.
- Employees can take leave for periods of time ranging from 6 to 18 months while continuing to receive half pay and benefits. (Pilots can take up to 5 years’ at 55 hours a month pay.)
- Employees can also take an ‘early out’ leaving the company with a lump sum amount of pay based on years of service. Employees with Southwest up to 4 years receive a month’s pay per year with the ariline. At 5 to 9 years they’re offering 6 months’ pay. And for employees with the company 10 or more years they’re offering a year’s pay. In addition they’re offering a year’s benefits and four years of standby travel (for those without enough years to receive retirement benefits and travel).
Some of the specific details vary by workgroup. Here’s Southwest’s internal document laying out offers for union contract employees and frontline supervisors; pilots; and non-union employees.
With a primarily domestic route network, Southwest should see a greater percentage of its business come back more quickly than United, Delta, and American.