Negotiate Severance Pay

How To Negotiate Severance Pay When You’ve Been Laid Off | 2023

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Experiencing a job loss is something we all despise. Gaining employment in any company is not something to be seen as a lasting offer because, in your career life, you’ll need to leave the job. Getting laid off can be emotionally stressful, significantly, when you’ve invested all your time, strength, and passion into working.

Some companies offer a severance agreement to their employees as an act of goodwill. They appreciate the efforts that have been invested in their company. Severance agreements are offered when an employee is forced to resign for health reasons or other reasons.

Not all employees of a company will be offered severance pay. Some reasons an employee might not get a severance payment will be discussed below.

Normally, severance pay is not required by law. Still, they are a legal agreement between an employee and the company that employs him/her, stating that a particular payment/package will be given to the employee after their departure.

As an employee, you will be given the grace of 21 days (or more) to accept a severance agreement. Immediately it’s signed, you have a minimum of 7 days to decline the offer, and if what they’re offering is not something you’d like to accept, you can hire an attorney to help with your case.

Severance packages usually include pay through non-reimbursed business expenses, longer healthcare coverage, insurance benefits, and more.

Severance pay is usually offered when they want to involuntarily dismiss their employees because of budgetary constraints or for other reasons; they make use of severance packages as compensation, often in exchange for a waiver. Getting dismissed from a job can make one feel miserable and often make you feel you’re not good enough.

If you observe people talking about getting layoff in the office, prepare for the worst, and avoid getting too hasty because you might be lucky.

Regardless of the situation, don’t quit before getting your severance pay; prepare in advance whether or not you expect to be laid off. Severance pay is compensation given to an employee who is laid off; it is essential you get yours too. This overview will provide you with insight into how to negotiate severance pay when you’ve been laid off.

What Is a Severance Pay?

A lot of workers lost their jobs in recent times because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Depression was at a high rate during these periods, and some still suffer from its effect.

Reputable companies offer severance packages to workers they let go but wish to remain on good terms with. If you’re being dismissed, you must negotiate your severance pay before leaving the job, as you’d have 21 days to accept what your employer is offering. But what is severance pay?

Severance pay is a provision or payment employers offer employees they lay off. Although not all companies provide severance pay to their workers, while others offer severance pay to employees they lay off because of one reason or another.

Severance pay is also known as a separation package. It usually comprises much money, longer healthcare coverage, or insurance benefits. They usually help with getting their former employees another job and other perks the company will give out.

Why Do Companies Offer Severance Pay?

Severance pay is a package most companies offer laid-off employees to help them go job hunting.

Most companies don’t offer severance pay to their former employees. Although this package is not for every employee willing to pay severance, just for a few employees, their impact on the company is relevant.

Usually, companies offer severance agreements to employees to avoid legal issues and agree not to seek further compensation or pursue legal action.

It is used to forestall legal issues like an employee suing for unpaid wages, unlawful dismissal, or discrimination. Severance pay is recognition of an employee’s service and an act of gratitude. 

Who Is Entitled To Get Severance Pay?

As much as severance is important to company employees, you should know that not every employee of a company may receive severance pay.

The Severance agreements offered to employees in a company are not required by law, but companies offer them as an act of kindness to forestall legal issues later in the future.

Suppose you’re laid off unjustly without a 60 days notice, under the W.A.R.N. Act (Worker Adjustment and Training Notification). In that case, you are legally entitled to severance pay. If your employer doesn’t offer you the severance agreement, you can negotiate the severance pay yourself or by employing an attorney to take up your case. You will not be entitled to severance pay if you’re laid off because of your misconduct.

What Is a Decent Severance Package?

Every company has different policies they abide by, so severance pay may vary by company or industry. There is no perfect figure for a severance package. A decent severance package can satisfy your needs while you look for you’re looking for a better placement.

A severance package should be calculated based on your role as an employee, your position, and how long you’ve worked for the company. The higher your position in the company, the higher your severance package should be.

A severance package is not only about the money involved; other valuables in it could benefit you long after you leave the company.

Most companies offer 1-2 weeks of severance pay for every year you worked with them, but as an employee, you can negotiate for more if you believe what they offer is lower than what you provided for the company.

You should not be in haste to sign a severance agreement without being cautious, especially if your employer tells you to rush things without giving you a few days to review the agreement.

Why You Should Strive For The Severance Pay?

Getting a severance package is your right, especially when you’re laid off without reasonable notice. Unjust termination is illegal by law, and you can sue such a company.

Not only is it depressing to be laid off unjustly, but it can also affect your confidence and downsize your effort to seek a job elsewhere. When you fight for your severance pay, you get to have something to hold on to before getting another job.

Because of the pandemic, the unemployment rate in the world is on the rise every day, which means getting a job might be more complicated than it used to be, and getting your severance pay will help you in so many ways.

What Are The Thing You Should Do When Negotiating Your Severance Pay?

These are things you can do while negotiating for your severance pay;

1. Negotiate For More Severance 

If what your employer is offering is lower than your expectation, or you think you’re being treated unjustly, you can consider asking for more severance pay. Severance pay should be able to help you cope with your unemployment pending till you get a better option; consider asking for more.

2. Ask For More Time

If you are indecisive about what the company is offering, seek more time to help you conclude whether to accept the offer.

3. Do Your Homework On Severance Before Negotiating

You must do your homework before negotiating. Try getting information from previous coworkers who have received their severance pay. This way, you gain insight into how to go about the procedures.

4. Know Your Power As an Employee

As an employee, you need to know your power and understand how to use it. When your employer lay you off unjustly, you need to fight for your severance pay because you may receive the package.

5. Be Professional

Don’t let your emotions decide for you when negotiating with the company. Try to stay calm and be professional. If you’re uncomfortable with their severance agreement, you can hire an attorney to help with your case. Additionally, you can compare your severance package with offers that other former coworkers received to be certain if your offer is accurate or if there is a need to negotiate more severance pay.

Further reading: Professional Communication Skills To Succeed At Work

6. You Can Employ An Attorney

Hiring an attorney might be expensive, but you’ll get the best result. All you need to do is get a competent lawyer to help you fight for your right.

7. Read The Severance Agreement Carefully

Read the agreement carefully, and you can point out any clause you don’t seem to understand in your next meeting. In everything you do, avoid rushing to sign an agreement without reading it. Don’t be hasty in signing anything you don’t understand.

 Why You May Hire An Attorney For Your Severance Package

Generally, a severance agreement does not require an attorney, as you can easily negotiate your severance pay with no problem.

If you notice a sign of foul play in the agreement, you can opt for an attorney to help with legal documents like a severance agreement. You should know that hiring an attorney might cost you a lot of money, but the result will be worth the pay.

Consider getting an experienced severance attorney to review your severance agreement and help you negotiate your severance package. 

How To Negotiate Severance Pay When You’Ve Been Laid Off | 2023

Here are a few guides on how to negotiate your severance pay when you’ve been laid off:

1. You Need To Meet With Your Employer

To negotiate your severance pay, you need to meet with your employer to talk extensively about your termination, and understand why they are choosing to lay you off; if the reasons are because of your misconduct at work, at this point, you should know your chances of getting a severance pay are small.

But if it is due to the company’s budget constraints, this will open room for negotiation. The HR representative might bring up the severance agreement during the meeting, but don’t sign the agreement immediately. Ensure you read the document carefully. As an employee, you will be given the grace of 21 days (or more) to accept a severance agreement, and immediately after it’s signed, you have a minimum of 7 days to decline the offer.

2. Read Every Document Properly

Getting a severance package is important, but reading the documents properly is also crucial. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Carefully go through the documents; if you don’t understand what is in the paper, consult a severance lawyer, and if some things are not included in the severance package, take time to note them down for your next appointment. Make your findings on what will happen, if there are any casualties, and if you’ll be paid in an event of disability or death. Be certain that your severance will be paid in case of any irregularity.

3. Employ a Severance Attorney

For a reasonable severance package, consider hiring a severance attorney to help you review the agreements in a language you’ll understand better.

Hiring a professional will help you get the best deal, and will most likely make you understand your rights, and in case of foul play, your attorney will help defend your case. You can ask the attorney questions that seem to bother you and also request for more severance pay through your attorney.

4. Have a List Of What You Want In Your Severance Package

Before negotiating your severance package, ensure you have a list of what you want to be included in the box. Severance isn’t all about the pay; several things can benefit you in the long run of unemployment. Avoid being distracted by offers that won’t be beneficial to you in the long run, you can also choose to negotiate for payment of vacation time that you spent working for them or ask for extended health coverage and insurance, and if you need help with job hunting, you can ask for a job training, outplacement services, references, counseling services. Or ask for more severance pay. 

5. Make Use Of Your Accomplishments As Tools For Negotiation

Your hard work and achievements can come into the spotlight while negotiating for your severance package. Let your employers be reminded of your role in the growth of their company, and how much you’ve sacrificed for the betterment of their company, Don’t be ashamed of your success.

Regardless of how little they might be, be boastful of your achievements. Taking advantage of your success is the best evidence to show the company that you are worth more than they offer.

6. Ask For The Full Package

When negotiating your severance pay, don’t let your previous employer make you believe you cannot ask for more. The power you hold as an employee being laid off unjustly is more than you imagine.

You may reject an agreement that doesn’t serve you, and you may ask for the full severance package. don’t let your fear of the unknown cripple you into believing you are worth less than what you’re receiving. You are worth more. Consider other benefits that can be included in the severance package.

7. Conclude On Whether To Sign The Severance Agreement

The final decision is up to you; you can decide on whether to accept the severance agreement if it is what truly want, or reject the offer and negotiate for more. And if you believe there is a misunderstanding about how you’re being dismissed or being discriminated against, you can negotiate to continue working in the company or hire an attorney to help get more for the severance package. 

Hiring an attorney can help reduce the stress of doing it yourself, and if you observe foul play, you should consider hiring an attorney.

Can I negotiate severance pay?

Yes, You can negotiate your severance pay and get the best from it.

Can I hire an attorney for my severance pay?

Hiring an attorney can help reduce the stress of doing it yourself, and if you observe foul play, you should consider hiring an attorney.


Fair severance pay should be able to help with your needs pending till you get a better job. Don’t get hasty with a severance agreement. Ensure that whatever is in the document is exactly what you need before signing.

We hope this overview answers your questions on How to negotiate severance pay when you’ve been laid off.