4 things to consider when negotiating your severence package

Imagine you've been working for a corporate employer for the last 15 years. You thought you'd retire with them, get the 25-year gold watch and live an easy retirement with a secure pension. However, things have changed.

Your boss came into your office last week to offer you a deal. The company is downsizing. You can voluntarily leave now, and get a great severance package, or you can wait to be laid off at some point during the next year without any guarantees.

You take a look at the severance package being offered and you know you deserve better. What should you keep in mind when negotiating this agreement with your employer?

Remember this during severance agreement negotiations

The longer you've worked for a large corporation, the more emotional, financial and other ties you will have with the firm. As such, you'll want to be careful during any negotiations relating to your severance.

For example, remember the following four things:

  1. Focus on the additional compensation that the agreement gives you and make sure it's fair. Is this additional compensation offered by the severance package sufficient to support you while you look for new employment? Is it enough money to reflect the many hard years of work and devotion you gave to the company?
  2. Several factors could influence how much financial compensation you receive in your severance package: (1) how long you worked for the company, (2) the reason for your job loss and whether it was due to misconduct, lack of performance, downsizing or a layoff, and (3) the financial condition of your employer at the time of job loss.
  3. Your severance package is a great opportunity to obtain a release of rights from your employer. Your employer will no doubt request that you sign away your right to make financial claims against it, and you may want to do the same. This will protect you from the potential of future claims relating to harassment or wrongful behavior that could come up later on down the road.
  4. Your severance package agreement is not a legal requirement: But it's possible that it reflects a previous employment agreement you signed with your company.

You deserve the best severance package you can get

Corporate employees who get laid off may have more leverage to negotiate a great severance agreement than they were aware of. Know your legal rights regarding severance negotiation, and it could benefit you financially in the long run.

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