Washington (Dec. 17, 2003) -- In the wake of increasing layoffs in the last three years, more companies are offering benefits beyond severance pay and outplacement assistance to employees who have been laid off, according to a Conference Board study.

In addition to continued health care benefits and priority consideration for reassignment to another job within the company, some firms are providing benefits like career and educational counseling, references, interview coaching, and education and training benefits to furloughed workers. It's called “compassionate” downsizing -- the "offering of services beyond outplacement to help employees find new jobs and to help transition employees with respect and care," according to the Conference Board.

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