Falling victim to a layoff is disheartening. When your boss asks you to meet in the conference room and says you are losing your job, your heart sinks. If your boss hands you a legal document laying out the details of your departure, you may be feeling a lot of confusion and uncertainty.
You may be worrying about how you will make ends meet once your time at your company is over. Even if your company initially offers you severance pay, it may not seem like enough. Here are some tips for negotiating a significant final paycheck.
1. Pay attention to the fine print
The devil may be in the details of the severance package. For example, does it require you to waive all legal claims against your employer? Your employer may try to prevent you from filing a wrongful termination or discrimination lawsuit by giving you severance pay. Some severance documents also include noncompete clauses. If this is the case with yours, you may have trouble finding a new job. Do not sign anything until you read every last detail.
2. Review your original contract
Most companies do not have a legal obligation to give you severance pay. However, your employment contract may include stipulations regarding your last paycheck. If your contract or the company policy state that employees are entitled to severance pay, you have greater negotiating leverage.
3. Consider benefits other than money
Your severance package does not need to be purely monetary. Consider negotiating for career coaching, medical expenses or life insurance. You may also want to ask for payment for unused travel expenses or vacation time.
4. Get legal assistance
Severance packages and employment contracts are often difficult to understand. An employment law attorney can help you understand everything and advise you on steps to take. Your attorney may also be able to effectively negotiate better severance for you.