Former ‘NOTW’ Staffers Offered Fat Severance Pay

Could each receive more than a year's salary

So much for those new jobs. News Corp. seems to be going back on its promise to find all former News of the World employees new positions within the company and is now offering them lucrative “early leaver” settlement packages, reports The Independent.

When the tabloid shut down last month, former editor Rebekah Brooks made it clear that every one of her ex-staffers would be offered another position within News International. But when the list of job openings was released—mostly noneditorial positions and in not-so-appealing places like Siberia—things began to look bleak for the out-of-work group.

On Friday, News International sent an email to about 280 former employees offering them a severance package—giving them until the end of the month to accept the offer—which could amount to the equivalent of a full year’s salary, says The Independent.

Under the new “early leaver" option, staff could get a 15 percent bonus on top of their existing redundancy terms; even junior employees could be looking at an extra £5,000 (about $8,182) at the very least. The package also includes a 2.5 percent annual pay rise, a £1,000 lump sum in lieu of News International’s annual performance-based pay system, and another £1,000 worth of training in areas like Photoshop and multimedia journalism. Former staff will also receive career advice, including interviewing tips.

News International said that it would still make “every effort to see that those people will be employed in other divisions of the company.” But News of the World insiders told The Independent that many ex-employees are likely to accept the severance offer.

“I think there will be a rush out of the door after this,” said one former staffer. “A lot of people think they don't stand a chance of being re-employed within the company and will take the money and leave.”

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.