Before you sign your severance agreement

You’ve been laid off, let go, canned, fired!  Now what? Fortunately, you’ve been offered a severance agreement. 

On the one hand, you want to sign right away because you’re afraid you’ll lose it if you don’t.On the other hand, you’re wondering if you should ask for more.  So what should you do? 

Before you sign, evaluate these three things in your severance package:

  1. The amount of severance and the benefits package you will receive in exchange for agreeing not to sue the company 
  • Will it be enough to support you and your family until you get another job? 
  • Will you have to pay 100 percent of your benefit premiums, or will your employer continue to pay its share?
  1. Whether your former employer will contest your claim for unemployment benefits 
  • You don’t want to risk losing the unemployment benefits you might need while looking for another job.
  1. Does your severance agreement contain a non-compete? 
  • Depending on how it’s worded, a non-compete may limit your future employment opportunities. 
  • If you signed a non-compete when you joined the company you are now leaving, you will have to abide by it unless it’s unenforceable or you can re-negotiate a better deal.

Under most circumstances, severance pay is not required by law. Generally, it’s an agreement between you and your employer, which you are under no obligation to accept. Your employer is free to set the terms of your severance package, but you don’t need to sign the first offer you receive. 

It’s important to remember that, when you sign a severance agreement, you give up certain rights, such as your right to file a lawsuit against your employer. Once you sign or, in some cases, seven days after you sign, you cannot change your mind and revoke the agreement. So always have your employment lawyer review your severance package before you sign to ensure that you are protected. 

Do you need help with a severance agreement right away? Call us at 973-787-8442 or schedule a strategy session.

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