Fall­out from a lay­off Dear An­nie

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL SPORTS -

TUES­DAY, APRIL 17, 2018

Dear An­nie: I am writ­ing you in hopes of get­ting, well, a lit­tle shred of hope. I come from a lower-mid­dle­class fam­ily that has al­ways been short on money, high on stress and full of love de­spite that. Grow­ing up, I al­ways ad­mired the fact that my par­ents served a healthy, com­fort­ing meal ev­ery night, de­spite hav­ing mul­ti­ple jobs, and waited un­til they thought we were asleep be­fore they tear­fully whis­pered about the mort­gage. I re­cently grad­u­ated from col­lege, and my par­ents didn’t want me to stress fi­nan­cially and drown in debt the same way my mother did, so I moved back home to pay off my loans, with the un­der­stand­ing that I would es­tab­lish my pro­fes­sional ca­reer and pull my own weight. And, I’ve got to ad­mit, it’s nice to feel like a kid back at Mom and Dad’s again.

But re­cently, a bomb dropped: My dad got laid off. He worked all day, ev­ery day, and my mom has had two jobs since the re­ces­sion hit just to keep us afloat. The re­al­ity is that ma­chines can do what peo­ple were once hired to do, and with the toy in­dus­try be­ing re­placed with com­puter games, well, that’s strike two. An­nie, my fa­ther has worked since be­fore he could drive. He knows ma­chines, but he doesn’t have a high school diploma. One day he’s up­set about reach­ing 60 and fear­ing heart fail­ure, and the next he’s told he has to start over. It’s just dev­as­tat­ing. He loves pro­vid­ing for his fam­ily and has been so proud to do so. Now he is a de­flated shell of a per­son who doesn’t know what to do, and I have no idea what to tell him — or what to do that might help. Do you have any ad­vice for a girl who just wants the best for her dad? — Still Daddy’s Lit­tle Girl

Dear Still Daddy’s Lit­tle Girl: The love and emo­tional sup­port you of­fer your dad is price­less. He might not feel like open­ing up and be­ing vul­ner­a­ble to you, but know that just your be­ing there no doubt of­fers com­fort.

There are some prac­ti­cal steps you could take to help, too.

First, you men­tioned you’re liv­ing at home with the un­der­stand­ing that you’ll pull your own weight. If you haven’t been pay­ing rent so far, I’d en­cour­age you to start chip­ping in what you can. Try to work out a bud­get that al­lows you to do so while also re­pay­ing your stu­dent loans.

Next, re­search with your dad the em­ployee rights in your state to be sure he is, at the very least, get­ting ev­ery­thing the law re­quires. For ex­am­ple, some states man­date that laid-off em­ploy­ees re­ceive their last pay­check im­me­di­ately and that it in­clude pay­ment for all ac­crued va­ca­tion time. And in some in­stances, if an em­ployee has been re­ceiv­ing ben­e­fits through his em­ployer, he is en­ti­tled to con­tinue do­ing so for 18 months. Ac­cord­ing to le­gal re­source guide Nolo, a fed­eral law called the Con­sol­i­dated Om­nibus Bud­get Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Act “gives em­ploy­ees (and their de­pen­dents) the right to con­tinue their health in­sur­ance cov­er­age for a pe­riod of time af­ter los­ing their jobs.” Nolo does note that em­ploy­ees are re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing the full premium cost, but at the group rate the for­mer em­ployer ne­go­ti­ated. Visit the Em­ploy­ment and Train­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s web­site (https://www.do­leta.gov) to find Rapid Re­sponse re­sources for laid-off work­ers in your state.

Lastly, though be­ing laid off is a dev­as­tat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, re­al­iz­ing that you’re not alone can make it less so. That’s why peo­ple all over the coun­try have formed sup­port groups for those ex­pe­ri­enc­ing un­em­ploy­ment. Many are fa­cil­i­tat­ing these groups through Meetup. If there’s not a group in your area yet, you can make one.

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