Sears managers to earn thousands in bonuses while laid-off workers get no severance


Sears Canada designs to dole out big bonuses to senior management while the retailer restructures, even as thousands of laid-off workers aren’t being paid severance. 

Conforming to court documents, Sears will pay up to $7.6 million in retention extras to 43 executives and senior managers at the company’s head office in Toronto. That disposes out to an average of $176,744 per employee, although it’s unlikely the money will be split up so evenly.

The news isn’t going over well with the company’s laid-off labourers. The cash-strapped retailer plans to close 59 stores and eliminate 2,900 responsibilities across the country as part of a court-supervised restructuring process.

Sears won’t be exact ones pound of flesh from the employees severance which, for some, adds up to a loss of tens of thousands of dollars.

«Why aren’t they accomplished to pay us out the severance if they have this [bonus] money?» says Zobeida Maharaj, a laid-off postpositive major operations manager who spent 28 years working for Sears in the Toronto neighbourhood.

«They have no moral values, no compassion, nothing in their compassions.»

Big money to keep execs

Sears Canada points out that the extra payments — known as the Key Employee Retention Program (KERP) — from been approved by the Ontario Superior Court.

Offering cash motivations during restructuring is common and often necessary to retain key employees, the companions says.

«A lack of a KERP in this scenario would potentially upshot in a worse outcome and negatively impact a variety of stakeholders,» spokesperson Joel Shaffer chew out tattle oned CBC News in an email.

The executives and senior managers tasked with guiding Sears totally the restructuring will earn up to an additional 25 per cent to 100 per cent, on top of their low salary.

Most will get their bonuses in quarterly installments, make 75 per cent of their payments within six months. The final 25 per cent won’t be retaliated out until a successful restructuring is complete.

Sears also plans to pay retention perks of up to $1.6 million to 116 senior store employees who will manage liquidation sales at locations that are closing. That amount get someone all steams out to an average of $13,793 each and will be contingent on certain sales quarries.

‘Little ants at the bottom’

Maharaj says she can understand paying retention rewards to store employees working on the front lines. But she argues the big payouts to higher-ups at van office are unfair when ex-workers like her have lost their severance.

«I’m shocked as to how they got this award permitted to have these people — these headquarters [big-wigs] — be abundant their pockets even more on the suffering of Sears employees,» replies Maharaj. «We’re just the little ants at the bottom.»

Zobeida Maharaj Sears

Zobeida Maharaj, who worked as a older operations manager at a Toronto store, says it’s unfair some foremen are getting bonuses while she has lost her severance. (CBC)

Rosa Dalessandro also speculates why there’s money to pay Sears executives when she’s losing severance that amounts to there a year’s salary.

«It’s very upsetting,» says the former Toronto-based sales events manager, who worked for the company for 20 years.

Dalessandro was laid off in Demonstration and Sears cut off her severance payments last month. This week, the retailer also cut her forwards and she got hit with an unexpected $400 dental bill.

«I’m opening all the bills truth now and I’m like, ‘Wow, wow, wow,’ because you don’t have money coming in. It’s really affected me and my relatives,» says Dalessandro.

«It’s almost like what they took from us, they’re stretch to the executives downtown.»

‘Necessary evil’

While it may sound «cold and unconcerned» to some workers, putting money aside to keep key employees is gauged a prudent move, says employment lawyer Adrian Ishak. «These KERPS are a needful evil.»

When a company is insolvent, Ishak explains, creditors racket up to try to recoup their losses. While laid-off employees are considered low predominance, retention bonuses for key staff — if approved by the court — often get top priority because those wage-earners are needed to help restructure the company.

«Where you really need to incentivize are people at the top constants, those who are going to be responsible for elaborating the plan, as well as implementing it,» states Ishak, a partner with Rubin Thomlinson LLP in Toronto.

If key staff take care of to successfully restructure Sears, he adds, it will be the best-case scenario for the group’s creditors. «If it’s a continuing enterprise, there will be far fewer losers,» he hints.

Many laid-off Sears employees, however, doubt they’ll by any chance see a dime of their severance and wonder why they’re not at the top of the retailer’s priority enter.

«We supported and built Sears,» says Maharaj.

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