Let's learn some phrases, in case we need to use it.
As people get laid off, they are paid some money if their employers are not in extremely bad shape. Last year, some people were laid off by Nortel and paid 6 months's salaries. Right now, things are not so optimistic.
This kind of compensation from employers is called "severance pay".
As people are let go, they are usually given a folder or an envelope. This kind of thing is called "pink slip". Because few of us have opportunities to see the pink slip, I just remind it is usually not pink color. This is a special term. I don't know its origin.
By the way, people not always say "lay off". Sometimes, "let go" are used instead. For instance, 20 workers are let go today by XYZ company.
Right now, the job market is not good. If somebody gets 6 months' severance pay, he still should be happy. But I don't know which employer is so generous. Nortel? IBM? CISCO? ...Lucent? Corning? ....