Strategies for Negotiating Severance Packages

By Douglas Lipsky

Losing a job can be a challenging experience, filled with uncertainty and stress. However, a well-negotiated severance package can offer a silver lining, providing financial support and benefits during your transition. Here’s how you can navigate this pivotal moment with strategy and poise.

Understanding Severance Packages

A severance package is not just a goodbye; it’s a cushion for the blow of job loss. Typically, these packages include compensation based on years of service, continued health benefits, and, sometimes, unused vacation pay. Understanding the standard offerings in your industry can give you a baseline for negotiations.

Assessing Your Position

Before entering negotiations, thoroughly assess your situation. How long have you been with the company? What unique skills or contributions have you brought to the table? Understanding your standing and value to the company strengthens your negotiation position. 

Additionally, consider the circumstances of your departure and the company’s precedent in similar situations. Reflect on any unique circumstances or achievements that may set you apart, such as leading high-profile projects, consistently exceeding targets, or contributing to significant company milestones.

Negotiation Strategies

Negotiating a severance package is about more than just asking for more money. Consider the following strategies:

  • Document Your Achievements: Compile evidence of your contributions and performance to justify your ask.
  • Understand the Full Package: Negotiate beyond the paycheck. Consider health insurance, outplacement services, and other benefits.
  • Stay Professional: Keep emotions in check and approach negotiations as a business discussion.
  • Seek Clarity: Ensure you understand all the terms, especially regarding future employment and references.

Legal Considerations

While negotiating, be mindful of legal implications. Understand the terms of non-compete clauses and any restrictions that may apply to your future employment. 

In particular, be aware of release and waiver provisions. These clauses require you to waive your rights to sue the employer, typically covering a broad range of potential claims. Ensure you fully understand the implications of these provisions before agreeing to them. Don’t agree to terms that could unduly restrict your career prospects or give up necessary legal rights without adequate compensation.

When to Call an Attorney

Negotiating a severance package can be complex, filled with legal jargon and significant implications for your future. If you’re uncertain about the terms or believe you’re entitled to a better package due to the circumstances of your departure, it might be time to call an attorney. An experienced employment attorney can help you understand your rights, evaluate the fairness of the offer, and negotiate more effectively on your behalf.

At Lipsky Lowe, we help employees navigate the intricacies of severance agreements. Our team can provide the support and guidance you need to ensure that your severance package reflects your value and contributions to the company while protecting your future employment prospects.

Call An Attorney Before Signing A Severance Agreement

Navigating severance negotiations can be complex, but with the right approach, you can secure a package that supports your transition. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone. 

The team at Lipsky Lowe can guide you through your severance negotiation, ensuring you understand your rights and options. Contact us today to ensure you get the best possible outcome during this significant change.

About the Author
Douglas Lipsky is a co-founding partner of Lipsky Lowe LLP. He has extensive experience in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, unpaid overtime, and unpaid tips. He also represents clients in complex wage and hour claims, including collective actions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and class actions under the laws of many different states. If you have questions about this article, contact Douglas today.