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Requesting a layoff can be tricky because there is a risk of angering the company and endangering your professional reputation. However, if executed properly, it could result in a mutually beneficial solution for both you and the company. It is important to focus on how the layoff will benefit the company to avoid being cast in a negative light.
For a company facing budget cuts, or edging toward having to trim its payroll through layoffs, having someone volunteer to be laid off can be a real benefit. If imminent layoffs are common knowledge, this is an ideal angle to pursue when requesting to be laid off. If you are not currently on the chopping block, you can make management's job a little easier by approaching your supervisor and requesting a layoff yourself. Explain how your layoff will benefit the company by preventing it from having to lay off a different employee who wants to keep his job.
To be considered for a layoff, you need to demonstrate that your absence will not hurt the company. If you find yourself with a minimal workload, or you know that your job duties could be handled by another employee or department, this can help sell the idea of a voluntary layoff. A company is not going to lay off someone whose workload is needed. Therefore, you need to come up with an easily executed plan for distributing your current tasks and responsibilities.
Another way to approach your employer with a request to be laid off is to demonstrate how it might save money by outsourcing your position instead of passing it on to another employee. For example, if you work in marketing it might be more cost effective for the company to use an outside marketing agency. If you are in technology, a freelance technology professional could also lead to cost savings. Using outsourced vendors and freelancers means the company is not on the hook for salary or benefits.
The layoff not only helps the company's budget in terms of trimming its payroll budget, but in reducing benefit costs as well. A laid off employee means the employee will no longer be eligible for health benefits through the company. Depending on what health coverages you have elected, and what the company contributes towards employee health benefits, this could mean significant savings for the company. As the employee, you will need to seek medical benefits elsewhere, such as through a spouse, COBRA benefits or though the health insurance exchange.