Laid off BuzzFeed workers have one simple demand for the company — but can it afford it?

By MixDex Article may include affiliate links

Hundreds of former BuzzFeed employees, laid off as part of the company’s restructuring efforts last week, have signed an open letter to the company’s execs demanding the company pay out their unused paid time off.

  • The letter was published on Medium under the “@BuzzFeedStaffCouncil” account, which was establish following the massive layoffs.
  • In the letter and on social, former BuzzFeed employees are expressing frustration that they are essentially being punished for not taking time off and dedicating their time to a company that has now laid them off.
  • With many of BuzzFeed’s employees based in New York, the company is not required by law to pay them for unused paid time off.
  • Employees based in California will, however, receive payment for unused paid time off per that state’s laws.
  • BuzzFeed head of human resources Lenke Taylor responded with a statement, saying the company is “open to re-evaluating the decision.”
  • If BuzzFeed were to reverse course and pay out unused paid time off it could cost the company millions.
  • Some states that require unused paid time off being paid out upon termination also require companies to keep that money “in reserve” as a liability for accounting purposes — so they are essentially “prepared” to pay out those funds.
  • A new trend in companies is to offer “unlimited” paid time off — which typically avoids having to pay for any unused paid to time off upon termination, since no intrinsic value can be placed on “unlimited.”
  • Companies, meanwhile, count on the competitive nature of the modern workplace to curb anyone from abusing the system.