The shock of being let go by your employer can be tempered by an offer of a severance package. In some situations, you can negotiate with your employer for a better deal. However, unless you have experience with these kinds of negotiations, we encourage you to talk to an employment lawyer first.
What Is a Good Severance Package?
Employers are not obligated by law to offer a severance package. They are generally offered in appreciation for many years of service or as a gesture of goodwill. If a company is downsizing out of economic necessity, for example, they might offer their long-term employees some benefits to offset the loss of their job. A generous severance package might include:
- Pay. It is standard to be paid for any accrued vacation time and also to be offered an additional lump sum, usually two weeks of pay for every year at the company. This formula could change depending on your rank or position with the company, and you might be able to negotiate for more.
- Insurance. By law, your employer must allow you to continue your health insurance—at your own expense—for up to 18 months after termination. However, you might be able to negotiate an extension of your health, disability, and life insurance policies paid for by your employer until you find a new job.
- Retirement, pensions, and stock. Make sure you understand how these benefits will be handled upon your departure. An attorney can advise you on what to ask for.
- Job placement. Some companies will agree to pay for an outplacement service to help you find a new job. These services can provide office space, secretarial support, career counseling, retraining, and more.
- Other perks. Extending other perks provided by your company, including a computer, vehicle, gym membership, and more could also be on the table when negotiating a severance package.
Within the severance agreement that you sign to get these benefits will also be some conditions, including a non-compete clause and waiving your right to sue the company for terminating you. Make sure you understand these conditions and, if you think you have grounds for a lawsuit—for example, based on discrimination—do not sign the severance agreement without talking to an attorney.
We Can Negotiate a Fair Severance Package and Protect Your Rights
You just lost your job, so paying for a lawyer to negotiate your departure package might seem out of reach. However, at Steinberg Law, LLC, we offer a sensible fee arrangement for severance negotiations that is manageable for you and rewards us if we get you a better deal, which means we will work hard to get you the most generous package possible. Contact us to learn more about our severance package negotiation services.