Established 1958 ~ Hardball Business Litigation & Complex Negotiations

Can Executives Negotiate Their Severance Packages?

Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Help Clients to Get Severance.

Parting ways with your longtime employer does not necessarily mean your income from that employer ends with your employment. A severance package often makes it possible for a valued worker to part ways with no animosity.

A severance agreement usually includes specific legal agreements that stipulate that, in exchange for accepting the severance package, the former employee cannot make negative comments about their former employer. Accepting the severance also usually means giving up any right to sue the former employer for any reason.

A severance package could bridge the income gap between jobs. If you find one right away, you still get to collect your severance pay.

How that severance is paid, the amount, and its duration all are important to take into consideration when accepting a severance package. These various factors can affect your life for the foreseeable future, so it is important to negotiate a severance package prior to parting ways with an employer.

Factors to Consider During Severance Negotiations

It helps to consider what you need versus what you are offered for severance. Overlooking important needs could create an unintended hardship.

For most people, the most important factors to consider when negotiating a severance agreement could include:

  • Extending benefits through the severance period
  • Handling retirement packages and incentives
  • Mutual non-disclosure agreements
  • Whether you need to return or laptop computer or other work items

You likely will want to maintain your health insurance benefits and have the employer continue deducting any pay for health care benefits. If you have a 401k or another retirement package, rolling it over or accepting a payout is very important.

If you were issued a laptop or other equipment to keep at home so that you could do your job, you might be able to keep it. Non-disclosure agreements could ensure that neither you nor the soon-to-be-former employer make disparaging remarks about the other party or file any lawsuits.

When Severance Negotiations Could Start?

Severance negotiations usually begin when your job is about to end. Most people have a good idea whether or not their jobs might end soon. In such cases, notification that the job is ending and severance is offered is not surprising, but it still could be upsetting.

The potentially emotional nature of exiting a job might encourage you to accept a severance upon receiving the offer. That would be the first severance negotiations mistake that you could make.

Instead of accepting right away, you should tell the employer that you need to review the offer. No law requires employers to offer severance packages, and you are not obligated to accept one.

Standard practice is to allow you up to 21 days to review the document and accept or reject it. If you accept it and change your mind, you usually have seven days to revoke the acceptance. You can make a counteroffer and negotiate the severance regarding payment and any other items of importance to you.

How Severance Affects Unemployment Benefits?

If you accept severance pay, you cannot file for unemployment until the severance pay expires. The state views severance as an extension of employment.

Your first true day of unemployment is when the severance agreement expires, and no more money is due to you from your former employer. Once that final date specified by your severance package arrives, you can apply for unemployment benefits the next day. Filing sooner than that would violate state law.

Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Help Clients to Get Severance

If you are facing employment termination and want to negotiate a severance agreement, the experienced Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. can help. You can call 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation at our Philadelphia law office. We represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.