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Pfizer Offers Early Retirement to U.S. Employees Ahead of Layoffs

Renae Reints

Pfizer is offering U.S. employees early retirement ahead of company cuts that will hit around 2% of its 90,000 workers worldwide, CNBC reports. The layoffs, expected early next year, will target primarily non-union workers.

In an internal message to employees Tuesday, the company said the layoffs are a part of restructuring that aims to “simplify the organization to avoid duplication, create single points of accountability and reduce the number of layers within teams,” the New York Business Journal reports.

“As we prepare for growth we are creating a simpler more efficient structure which will affect some managerial roles and responsibilities,” a Pfizer spokeswoman told CBNC. “We are offering enhancements to certain benefits to lessen this effect.”

Severance packages include a base salary of 12 weeks, plus three weeks of salary for every year of work, up to 104 weeks. Employees who voluntarily leave will also keep their vested equity, health insurance, and other benefits at current rates for up to three years.

Only those who are 55 or over and have at least 10 years of experience at the company can potentially be eligible for early retirement, and they have until November 2 to opt into the program. If they do, they will leave by December 31, unless asked to stay longer, CNBC reports.

After this opt-in period, managers will assess their staff needs and then decide on “involuntary separations,” according to CNBC. Those who are laid off involuntarily can still receive largely the same benefits in this Special Separation Program.

The news of these layoffs follows Pfizer’s announcement earlier this month that CEO Ian Read is stepping down on January 1, to be replaced by current COO Dr. Albert Bourla. The company also gave its executives additional responsibilities last week, and created a role of Chief Digital Officer.

The changes haven’t hurt Pfizer’s stock however, as shares are up roughly 20% this year, according to Reuters.