Severance can be a subject mired in confusion, and it doesn’t help when you are expected to quickly make a decision.
Losing a job can throw a wrench in the gears as far as having a dependable, stable future. Suddenly, you are faced with the challenge of finding a new job and wondering how to pay for your life in the meantime. Employers aren’t always helpful either, as they can make people feel rushed to sign a severance agreement and move forward with a decision they aren’t prepared to make.
But did you know you can negotiate a severance agreement? With an understanding of why your employer is offering a severance package and what they hope to achieve by it, you can make the moves during your exit that will keep you afloat a little longer.
Why Do Employers Offer Severance?
While a severance package can be beneficial to the point of seeming generous, remember that your employer has a reason for providing this compensation. Your acceptance of the severance means you agree not to sue the company after your departure—a huge bonus for your employer if you are leaving due to reasons like workplace hostility or harassment. These are details that can show up during your meeting and help you bargain for more.
For some employees, leaving provides them with an opportunity to pursue their own projects. If that means becoming a competitor, you may be able to negotiate a higher severance by agreeing not to compete with them following your departure. Remember your worth to your employer—they wouldn’t be in business without the people who deliver their products for them. Leaning into your history as an employee can help your negotiation.
Ask for Whatever You Think You Can Get
Knowing the details of your severance is crucial. Far too many people walk out the door having accepted the bare minimum amount their employers were prepared to present. In many cases, companies construct severance formulas based on the amount of a person’s salary, meaning that the amount offered at first may be the lowest they are prepared to pay.
Severance pay is meant to cover an extra pay period or a little more. For most of us, that means two weeks’ pay. You can reasonably request more than that, though, even up to double that amount. But, money isn’t the only benefit from a severance package. You can also request to exercise your stock options, have your employer pay for COBRA benefits, and defer your bonuses until they ripen. If you don’t like the options you are given, request a dollar amount equivalent instead.
Ask an Attorney
Severance can be a subject mired in confusion, and it doesn’t help when you are expected to quickly make a decision. If you are unsure about how to proceed, make sure you contact a New York employment lawyer who can help you find the answers. Nisar Law Group, P.C. can provide you with an overview of your severance agreement to get the best outcome for your situation.
Note: This is a reprint with permission. The original is found here.