How do severance agreements work? What happens if they change?

Severance agreements, or severance packages, refer to what your employee may offer you in the case of your being terminated or permanently laid off from your job. Typical severance packages may be offered in the form of a set period of continued paychecks, a lump sum amount, or even a continuation of benefits.

Employers are not legally required to offer severance agreements to their fired or permanently laid off employees. Instead, the choice to offer up a form of a severance package belongs to the employee. They can choose to offer one or they can choose not to.

If you find yourself in a position in which you are being offered a severance package, you need to consider certain things before you sign it.

First, you need to get the severance package reviewed by a lawyer you trust. You need to be sure you are not agreeing to anything you are not aware of or have an understanding of before you sign your name. Moreover, you want to be sure you are in no way damaging yourself and your livelihood in the long run by signing a severance package. Before you do anything, have an attorney review the terms for you.

Some things you may not know to look out for include non-compete agreements, confidentiality, and pension rights, among others.

Since there is no legal requirement stating employers have to pay their employees severance, it is perfectly fine for your employer to cancel or change their severance policies at any moment.

In the event that your employer cancels severance packages and then you find yourself terminated and without severance, a lawyer may be able to help you. If your employer promised and indicated severance would be available to you should you one day require it, you may be able to legally require them to live up to that promise. Again, this is why you should employ the services of a lawyer who can help you to secure what you deserve.

In general, you should always consult a lawyer when dealing with any sort of document or procedure you are unfamiliar with—especially as it pertains to your livelihood. When it comes to severance agreements or packages, you could be missing out on a bunch of stuff if you do not secure an attorney to guide you through the often-complicated process.

If you feel like your severance package has been handled incorrectly or if you feel you are entitled to a severance agreement from your employer, contact Jarvis & Garcia for the information and help you require.