Startup Severance Packages: Sometimes Generous During COVID-19

Although technologists are generally upbeat in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, layoffs are nonetheless occurring. What kind of severance and benefits are those laid-off technologists getting? 

Layoffs.fyi (which has been doing a great job of breaking down tech layoffs by industry) has been tracking those severance packages among startups. Based on the data, we can conclude that some smaller tech firms have been very generous when it comes to payouts and continuing healthcare. Other companies… not so much.

Although the website’s recording of severance offers isn’t quite as extensive as its overall startup-layoff counter, it’s clear that many startups’ offers are quite generous, with 8+ weeks of pay offered in a sizable portion of cases:

When it comes to the extension of healthcare benefits, things seem to be a bit more variable, although many laid-off startup technologists reported receiving 4+ months of such benefits:

It’s worth noting that some of the ‘startups’ with the best packages are really quite mature companies; Airbnb or Uber are nobody’s idea of small shops attempting to bootstrap an untested product. Nonetheless, layoffs.fyi categorizes them alongside small startups, which may have an impact on its data and results.

Layoffs.fyi crowdsources layoff data (similar to how levels.fyi collects salary information). As such, former startup employees are using the platform to report their particular severance packages. At WeWork, for instance, it seems that employees are being given four months’ worth of severance pay, while those at Airbnb are getting 14 weeks along with 12 months of healthcare. At Uber, meanwhile, technologists are reporting 10 weeks, with healthcare benefits through the end of 2020.

Other startups haven’t been quite as generous. At Bird, severance is reportedly four weeks; at Leafly, a cannabis startup, it’s just one week. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit startups in industries such as transportation and travel, which depend on in-person interactions, particularly hard. Major tech hubs such as New York City and Silicon Valley, where many of these startups clustered, have also seen quite a few layoffs. 

On Dice’s ongoing COVID-19 Sentiment Survey, we’ve seen technologists’ perceptions of their job security fluctuate somewhat, with the percentage of those feeling most secure about their jobs dipping a bit in recent weeks. Despite that, the majority of technologists seem at least somewhat assured about their job security as the COVID-19 crisis grinds on.  

Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center, which aims to provide the tech community with the best, most up-to-date information on the novel coronavirus.