You don’t need to wait until your employer terminates your employment to request a severance package. In fact, you can negotiate severance details during the offer negotiation stage of a new position.
It’s crucial that you seek legal counsel when asking for a severance package, both at the beginning and end of employment. An employment attorney like Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC can review the package and policies, and offer guidance and advice on how to maximize your severance pay. The Firm can also assist with other wage claims like overtime violations.
Factors To Consider When Asking for A Severance Package
You should feel confident when asking for severance pay. You should have limits and expectations based on your eligibility and the company policies.
Understand Your Rights
Severance pay isn’t covered in the Fair Labor Standards Act or state law. Generally, there are no legal requirements for employers to offer severance packages to employees.
That said, many companies offer severance pay because it benefits them.
- Companies can find better talent because the process of leaving is clear-cut.
- Packages often include clauses about confidential information which protect the company’s intellectual rights.
- Employers can use severance agreements to make employees waive all employment-related claims.
Review any employment agreement you may have and/or any employment policies regarding severance pay. You should note the language that outlines your severance eligibility, how severance pay is calculated, and the conditions you need to meet to receive it.
In the case of mass layoffs, employers may have to provide notice that your job is being eliminated and you are losing your job pursuant to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (“WARN”) Act.
Assess Your Eligibility
You should know if you are eligible for severance pay before asking for it. Employers have specific criteria you must meet to receive severance pay. These criteria can include:
- How long you have worked for the company
- How long you have worked in your job
- Your earnings for the company in a defined time period
- Other circumstances like the reason you are losing your job such as layoff or termination without cause.
Severance pay rules are usually based on your employment contract, and/or the company’s policy and practices. These rules are most always written so you should be able to review them and send them to your employment attorney.
Make a Persuasive Case
It’s important to leverage your professional accomplishments when negotiating a severance package.
Here are some points to highlight when discussing severance pay.
- Your contributions to the company
- Performance reviews
- Outstanding projects or achievements
- Your value as an employee
- Why you deserve severance pay
Don’t hesitate to negotiate until you have a package that meets your expectations. You can include factors like how long you have worked at the company, how long it will take to find another position, and whether or not your position is permanently eliminated.
What Should a Severance Package Include?
When you ask for a severance package, you should understand what severance pay options look like. Here are five things you should look for when negotiating severance pay.
- How much you will be paid, and when can you expect the money.
- Compensation for unused paid time off, such as vacation days and sick time.
- Continuation of employee benefits like health insurance and 401K.
- Outplacement services such as resume assistance.
- Waiver clauses explaining that you agree to forfeit all employment-related claims and agree never to sue your employer for anything connected with your employment.
Consult a Professional
Severance packages include pay and non-pay benefits when you are involuntarily separated from or laid off from your job.
The specific language of the package will determine how much you get, when you get it, and any other benefits like healthcare, vacation time payout, vesting of stock options, and additional equity.
It’s crucial not to sign severance terms too quickly. Instead, take your time and consult a professional who can explain the details. The language controls your pay and benefits, so consulting with an employment attorney can help you get the most from your severance pay negotiations.
Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC Helps Review Severance Packages and Policies
You may receive severance pay even though your employer is not legally required to offer you severance pay. A severance package can benefit both you and your employer.
At Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC, we offer guidance and support for employees negotiating severance pay at the beginning and end of their employment. So, if you want our help assessing your severance package, contact us today.