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Less than two weeks after offering certain employees a severance package, Better.com is conducting its third round of layoffs in four months.
In an email sent to staff this morning that was obtained by NMP, Richard Benson-Armer, Better.com's chief people, performance and culture officer, states the company made “the difficult decision to make another substantial cut to our production workforce in the United States.”
The letter does not state how many jobs will be cut, nor how the layoffs will be focused among the company’s various units. The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed source “familiar with the matter,” reported that the cuts will target employees in the mortgage lender’s sales, real estate business, and mortgage operations.
In the email obtained by NMP, Benson-Armer states that corporate leaders will spend today “making one-on-one calls to notify departing colleagues of this news. If you are impacted, you will receive a call today to learn the news personally and discuss next steps.”
The email states the company will offer “comprehensive severance packages,” including a minimum of 60 days and a maximum of 80 days cash severance payments, as well as continuing insurance benefits through the end of the month, “after which impacted employees will be able to opt into using COBRA, with Better covering the premiums until July 31, 2022.” It is also offering outplacement services.
In the email, Benson-Armer states the decision to make additional staffing cuts was “difficult but necessary.”
“As the mortgage environment in which we operate continues to indicate further declines ahead, we have to do more to ensure Better is appropriately positioned, financially and operationally, to navigate this changing environment,” the email states. “It is through this that we will continue to work to further position Better on its pathway to profitability.”
The email adds that, “As we work to streamline our operations and strengthen our business in the face of these prevailing headwinds, we are also making changes to our footprint in select locations to achieve further cost savings. If this impacts you or your team, you will receive additional information about next steps of the transition in the coming weeks.”
The latest round of layoffs follows Better.com offering a voluntary severance package to a limited but unknown number of employees on April 7. At the time, Better.com said it had approximately 6,000 employees in the U.S. and India.
The company has not said how many employees have accepted the buyouts, and it did not state a total for the number of employees being laid off today.
Based in Manhattan, Better.com had not, as of this morning, filed a notice with the State of New York under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which is required when a company with 50 or more employees plans a mass layoff.
Under federal law, employers must provide at least 60 days’ notice before a mass layoff. The act applies to companies with at least 100 employees when they lay off at least 50 workers.
Under New York’s rules, which are more strict than the federal regulations, if a closing affects 25 or more workers, employers must follow WARN requirements. New York’s rules also cover mass layoffs of 250 workers from one site, or as few as 25 workers if they represent one-third of the company’s workforce.
The New York State WARN Act requires 90 days’ notice. If employers violate the act, they must provide 60 days of back pay and benefits to their employees.
The latest layoffs would be the third time the company has cut jobs since December 2021.
That month, Better.com laid off 900 employees — with the announcement coming from CEO Vishal Garg during a corporate Zoom meeting. Garg subsequently took time off from the company before returning in January.
That was followed by another mishandled layoff in March. The company laid off about 3,000 people, but some employees found out about the cuts when they discovered a severance check in their corporate payroll app before the official announcement was made.