Deferral Stipend, Start Dates

Pillsbury: Let’s Try This Whole ‘Voluntary Departure’ Thing One More Time

Pillsbury logo.JPGBack in February — after the Acela fiasco, before the layoffs — Pillsbury offered a voluntary departure program to its associates. The program didn’t really work, and the firm ended up laying off 55 associates (155 employees in all), in March.
Undaunted, Pillsbury is offering another “voluntary” program, this time directed at its incoming first year associates. The firm has already delayed start dates for all of its incoming first year associates to January 2010. But now the firm is offering a cash payment to associates to go away entirely. Multiple sources report that Pillsbury is offering $60,000 to incoming first years to voluntarily quit the firm.
At the beginning of May, Stroock offered $75,000 to encourage people to fall on their own sword. If my math is right, Pillsbury is offering significantly less money for the same option.
What happens to people if they don’t take Pillsbury up on its offer? We have additional details after the jump.

The other option Pillsbury is putting on the table is a voluntary public interest deferral until January 2011. Tipsters The firm will pay a $5,000/per month stipend to the public interest organization in order to subsidize the associate’s employment. That means people taking this option will have to secure a paying public interest job. Good luck with that.
Pillsbury has a hard number of people it wants to take one of these voluntary programs. As we understand it, the firm wants 22 of its 54 incoming associates to either take the money and run, or defer until 2011.
Incoming associates we spoke with were annoyed with both of the options and Pillsbury’s late timing of the program. One tipster put the dissatisfaction like this:

I think that both options suck and if they wanted more people to go away, they would have offered more than 60k. (the market is 75k at the moment to go away). They announced so late in the game, we’ve missed deadlines for Bar applications in other states, and also the interesting public interest jobs are gone. I think most of us will wait and see if we get chosen for January 2010. Make them decide who they want.

It really does seem very, very late to be telling people that they can’t start working. Public interest jobs, paying public interest jobs, aren’t just lying around on a self-replenishing plate.
Should incoming Pillsbury associates just wait around until the middle of June and hope that they are one of the lucky ones? Or should they just take the money and run now?
Earlier: Pillsbury’s ‘Voluntary Departure’ Plan
Nationwide Layoff Watch: Pillsbury’s Voluntary Departure Numbers
Stroock Offers $75,000 in Stay Away Money
Prior ATL coverage of start dates

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