Tips to Negotiate Your Severance Package

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Minnesota Employment Law Attorneys

Losing your job can be devastating. Since most people live paycheck to paycheck, even missing a day or two can feel like a setback. Not knowing when you are going back to work can be a hard blow.

Because of this, many companies offer a severance package. Usually, this includes money to compensate you for losing your job. It can also include some benefits that you are going to be missing out on. Some companies even compensate their employees for any unused sick and vacation days.

Severance packages can come in several forms. You may get a lump sum of money or you could continue to get paychecks regularly like you were still working.

While most people just take their severance package and go (before their employers change their mind), the truth is that you can negotiate with your employer to get a better deal.

Here are some tips to help you through the negotiation process.

The first thing that you should do is not sign anything right away. Too many people feel like they have to sign the paperwork and take the money before their employer changes their mind. However, that is not true. In fact, you should take a few days to read over the paperwork and think about what they are offering you.

If possible, you should consult a lawyer. A lawyer will be able to help you read through your severance paperwork. There are times when it is filled with language that is hard to understand, and a lawyer will be able to explain it to you in simpler terms. He or she will also be able to help you see if it is a fair offer or if you have something to negotiate.

Though everyone is different, the general thought on severance pay is between two and four weeks pay for every year that you worked. Because of this, you should fight for four weeks, though you might have to accept two weeks. Don’t settle for any less than that.

Don’t forget about the benefits. Though money can be nice, especially if you are going to be out of work for a few months, you should also fight for some other benefits that you are going to be losing. Health insurance is one of the most expensive things that we have to buy so if you can extend your health insurance for a few months, this could be helpful.

Make sure that you look at your job performance. Though some people get laid off because of poor performance, the truth is that most times when a severance package is brought to the table, it is not your fault.

Because of that, you need to look closely at your performance at your job. If you did a decent job, you won’t be able to fight for as much severance as someone who was great at what he or she did! If you were truly a wonderful employee, you have every right to go after what you deserve.

Fight for your exit message. When you are looking for a new job, you are going to need a reason why you were laid off at this one. Come up with a message that works for both of you. It is also helpful to have one that doesn’t hurt your chances of finding new employment. You may also want to ask if you can continue to use them for references.

It is important to remember that your severance package comes with a cost. Employers offer severance packages because they don’t want to deal with any legal problems. By signing the paperwork and taking the money, you are telling them that you are not going to fight the loss of your job. It gives closure to both you and the company that you work for.

If you feel like you were discriminated against, don’t sign the paperwork. You really should consult a lawyer if you feel like you were terminated due to your race, age, sex, religion, or something else. Discrimination in the workplace should not be taken lightly.

If you feel like it might be a small factor, this gives you extra room to negotiate. However, if you feel completely discriminated against, you may want to take them to court. Your lawyer will be able to help you decide if you have a case that you want to pursue or if you just want to use it during your negotiations.  

When you are first hit with the news that you are going to be laid off, you are probably going to be in shock. If you are lucky enough to get a severance package, you may feel pretty good about it. This gives you a little extra wiggle room as you look for another job.

However, you shouldn’t just sign it right away. In fact, you should consult a lawyer. He or she will help you read through the fine print to see if you have a fair offer. You have every right to ask for two to four weeks pay for every year that you worked. You can also ask for your health insurance benefits to be extended.

Before you do so, you need to make sure that you were the best employee. If you were only decent at your job, you have less negotiations than if you were a good hard worker. If you feel like you were an asset to your employer, fight. You deserve some compensation for losing your job, especially if it is not your fault.

It is also important to remember that, by signing the severance package, you are also signing away your chance at taking any legal action. You are not going to be able to sue the company after you take the money. For this reason, you need to make sure that you don’t have a case of discrimination or something similar.

Contact us for all of your legal needs. We will make sure that you get a fair severance package.