Early-Retirement Plans Make Their Own Workplace Exit Wall Street Journal (07/31/02) Vol. 30, No. 15 p.B9; Tejada, Carlos
Early-retirement plans are favored by older workers who are facing layoffs or who want something new, and they give companies an alternative to widespread layoffs, but outplacement firms and labor experts say that companies are using such plans less this year. Potential early retirees are less enthusiastic due to the stock market's troubles and some companies think they cannot afford the packages, but observers think the drop-off is due in part to long-term trends like the decline of defined-benefit pensions--workers are less pleased with the packages when there are no defined-benefit plans involved. Layoffs are less expensive for companies than early-retirement plans, and the plans can occasionally spur age-discrimination lawsuits, but they still hold appeal for many unionized and public employees.