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Displaced Toys ‘R’ Us employees starting to receive severance

BY Dan Berthiaume

A hardship fund designed to assist laid off employees of shuttered toy store retailer Toys “R” Us has started making payments.

Private equity firms KKR and Bain Capital, two of the ownership groups that liquidated Toys ‘R’ Us in June, established the $20 million fund to aid workers who lost their jobs. According to a legal document, eligible employees must have been employed by the company for a minimum of one year and been terminated due to liquidation after Sept. 18, 2017.

Other eligibility criteria include not receiving any severance or termination pay and earning annual income of more than $5,000 and less than $110,000. Payment sizes will vary from $200 to $12,000. Private equity firms Solus Alternative Asset Management, Angelo Gordon and Vornado Realty Trust, which were also partial owners of Toys ‘R’ Us, are not contributing to the fund.

Workers’ rights group Rise Up Retail has estimated 64,000 laid off Toys ‘R’ Us employees should be paid $75 million in severance based on duration of their employment. No general offer of severance pay has been made so far. The New York Post reported that 19,000 former Toys “R” Us employees meet eligibility requirements to receive hardship fund checks.

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