Q: Like many other companies, my employer has conducted layoffs this year. I was approached by my manager to increase my responsibilities to better define my workload to HR. I wanted more responsibilities anyway, but I wanted to be compensated for the added duties. Now that my job is on the line, should I just take the extra workload and be grateful that I have a job, or should I ask for an increase in pay?
A: The whole point of a company laying off people is to have fewer people doing the same types of tasks. This in turn is supposed to reduce the company's overall expenses. When your boss asked you to find other things to add to your job, he or she was probably trying to justify your salary by adding more responsibilities.
That being said, if your job has changed significantly due to the added responsibilities, then it makes sense to ask your HR department what the process is to have your job reevaluated. Normally, if you see the scope of your job broaden - for example, you now have people reporting to you where you did not previously - then you should ask HR to reevaluate your job, including rewriting the job description and reviewing the salary range for the position.
Some companies may reevaluate a job and decide not to give an increase to an employee's salary even though the job has changed drastically from what it was when the employee was first hired. This is because some jobs may have been overvalued and it may be necessary to add new tasks to the job to justify large salaries. Nevertheless, I'm not sure it makes sense to ask your manager for a raise right now, since it is near the end of the year, when many employers give out merit increases. If your company gives merit increases at that time, wait until your boss is conducting your review to request an increase in your salary based on your new responsibilities.