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Why didn't I get a pay-to-stay bonus?

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Q. Our company has filed under Chapter 11 with no financial backing. The company is being sold. Our accounts payable supervisor got another offer and put in her notice, but the company countered with a pay-to-stay package. She gets six months of severance pay with three months up front.

I am very angry, since I was committed to working until the end after taking a 10 percent cut in pay with hopes of staying on with whoever buys us. How do I confront the CEO who offered her this package to get the same deal? Currently we have no severance package.

A. Companies can offer employees incentives to stay with the company - sometimes called pay-to-stay bonuses or retention bonuses - if there are certain skill sets the company wants to retain as the facility closes down.

Accounts payable is a very important function for any company that is winding down. Bankrupt companies must be very careful how they manage the expectations of their creditors. I can understand why your CEO may decide to offer your accounts payable supervisor a retention bonus. It makes sense to have someone in accounts payable to stay on board to oversee the process for closing out the accounts.

Now, I'm not sure what position you hold with the company, but it could be your CEO has determined that the company does not need someone in your function to help make the transition to the new company. However, not offering you a retention bonus comparable to the one the AP supervisor received does not mean the CEO considers your work below performance. Rather the company is saying the AP role is vitally more important.

Take a look at the company's financial situation to determine whether they're being fair to you. Since you are keen on continuing your service with the company, maybe you should ask the CEO if there is any function in the company that you could move into while the company winds down.

Good luck.

- Erisa Ojimba, Certified Compensation Professional

Jan 2007
Chapter 11Employmentpay-to-staysupervisor

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