If you’ve ever been called into a meeting with your supervisor and a representative from the Human Resources department, then you know that your adrenaline can cloud the moment. While you’re trying to figure out what’s going on and how you got to this point, your employer may be discussing important matters that require your attention. One of them is your severance package. Before just agreeing to what’s offered to you, though, you need to carefully consider the terms and determine whether there’s room to negotiate.
Crucial elements of your severance package
There can be a lot of terms included in your severance agreement. You need to carefully analyze each of them to understand what you’re receiving and where you might be able to pushback. Here are just a few of them:
- Compensation: This, of course, is the big one. While you might have an employment contract that specifies how much you’ll be paid if you’re let go, a lot of times employment contracts don’t contain these provisions. While it’s common to receive two weeks’ worth of pay for every year of employment, that’s not always the case. Consider the circumstances. If you’re being let go due to downsizing, then you might be in a better position to negotiate for more pay than if you’re being let go for poor performance. The same holds true if you’ve been a respected and high performing employee.
- You’re performance: Not all layoffs are legally justified. If you have a strong track record of performance but are being let go for performance-related issues, then you might want to dig a little deeper to see if there are discriminatory motives behind your firing.
- Timing: If you’re close to qualifying for a pension or need your employer’s healthcare coverage to assist with a procedure in the near future, then it might be worth trying to negotiate your official leave date, which could be later than the time when you physically stop working for that employer.
- Recognize the future implications: As upset as you might be about being let go, you don’t want to burn bridges if you can avoid it. So, you’ll want to address your severance discussions with care without simply caving to the other side.
If you are being let go from your job, then you are at a critical point in life. Leave nothing to chance and ensure that you’re doing everything you can to protect your interests, which may include soliciting the assistance of an experienced employment law attorney.