Negotiate Severance When Laid Off

A severance package can be negotiated. Understand your options and focus on what matters most to you. Focus on personality, politics and power when figuring out who to negotiate with. You can ask for more money, how the severance is paid and letter of reference in the negotiation. Be ready to quantify your contribution.

Negotiate your severance package with the right person.

In the severance package negotiation, it is of paramount importance to take note of how long you have been with your employer, what your position is within the organization, how difficult it is to obtain alternative employment and what’s your contributions have been.

You should most definitely be thinking of the three P’s in contract negotiation during the process: power, personality and politics. Talk to the right people who have been your mentors, your allies in the past. Be ready to quantify your contributions. Describe why the package is inadequate, and point to everything you contributed to the company during your employment. Don’t hesitate to explain your personal situation if necessary, and how devastating financially the termination is going be for you and your family. Nobody wants to see another human being suffer. Nobody wants to see a single mother of two young kids to be living on the street due to the termination. Talk is cheap, and if you never try, you never know what you are missing out.

What you can negotiate for in a severance package:

  • More money. I hope it is obvious to you. You can ask for more money, although you should keep in mind the amount is often tied to how long you have been working for your employer. No one wants to be sued, and how much the employer is will to give hinges heavily on the best alternative, which is a costly employment law litigation. Obviously if you are being represented by an employment lawyer, it would be foolish for the employer to not take you seriously.

  • How the severance is paid. You could request that it be paid out in installments so that you continue to get paid regularly while you look for your next job, and to avoid a huge income law at the end of the year. Or if you are urgently in need of the money to make ends meet, you can request one lump sum.

  • References. You could include a clause in your package that stipulates how your employer will describe your period of employment if asked for references about you, and to give you a well written letter of reference to assist you in your job hunt.

Don’t Mess With Forces that You Don’t Understand

Sometimes companies provide severance pay to avoid any potential lawsuits. Keep in mind that employers usually pay severance benefits only after the employee signs a release not to bring claims against the company, so it may make sense to consult with an employment lawyer before signing anything.

Severance Pay FAQs

Severance Pay FAQs:

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