Employment Law

Pfizer planning to cut jobs as part of ‘cost realignment program’


Grappling with declining sales of COVID-19-related products, Pfizer is planning to trim its headcount in a bid to reduce costs.

In a recent news release, the pharmaceutical giant said it launched a “multi-year, enterprise-wide cost realignment program” in the fourth quarter of 2023.

“The program is expected to deliver targeted savings of at least $3.5 billion, of which $1 billion is expected to be realized in 2023 and an additional $2.5 billion is expected to be realized in 2024,” the release reads.

“The one-time costs to achieve the savings associated with the new cost realignment program are expected to be approximately $3 billion, of which the majority is expected to be cash. These costs will primarily include severance and implementation costs.

It remains unclear how many jobs Pfizer plans to cut and if any Canadian employees will be affected by the layoffs.

According to the company’s website, it employs a global workforce of approximately 83,000 people.

Major layoffs continue

The potential job cuts at Pfizer come amid a flurry of layoffs in 2023.

Major North American companies, including Amazon, Flexport, Twitch, Hopper, Epic Games, GoogleDell, Telus, and Meta, have significantly scaled back their staffing levels as they continue to navigate challenging economic conditions.

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Termination agreements for Pfizer employees

In Canada, non-unionized employees at Pfizer are owed full severance pay when they lose their jobs due to downsizing, corporate restructuring, or the closure of the business.

This includes individuals working full-time, part-time, or hourly in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C.

People working “on contract” or as a contractor may also be owed severance pay — given that many employees in Canada are often misclassified as independent contractors.

Severance can be as much as 24 months’ pay, depending on a number of factors.

Severance pay for provincially regulated employees
Severance packages during mass layoffs
Rights to severance during a recession

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains what rights employees have if they are being fired or let go on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

Before you accept any severance offer, have an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP review it and your employment contract.

We can tell you if what you have been provided is fair and how to get proper severance if it falls short of what you are actually owed.

If you don’t receive the full amount, which happens often, you have been wrongfully dismissed and are entitled to compensation.

In some cases, employers pressure staff into accepting poor severance packages, such as imposing a deadline for accepting the offer.

Non-unionized employees in Canada have up to two years from the date of their dismissal to pursue a claim for full severance pay.

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