In most employment situations, you are entitled to reasonable notice or termination of pay in lieu of reasonable notice. Previous court cases determine what constitutes “reasonable notice’ in a particular case, which is based on a variety of factors, including age, length of service and level of remuneration. Employers often make an initial severance offer that is well below an employee’s legal entitlement and include other onerous provisions. It is your right to seek legal advice before accepting a severance agreement.
What is severance?
If you have been terminated without cause or laid off, you are entitled to either reasonable notice of your dismissal, or pay in lieu of notice. This pay in lieu of notice is often referred to as “severance”. In many cases your employer will provide you with a severance offer upon termination or layoff.
What is my legal entitlement to severance?
The severance offer you receive should reflect the amount of money you would have earned had you been given “reasonable notice” of your termination.
The determination of what is “reasonable” depends on number of factors, including your employment contract, legislation, and common law (ie. court cases). Usually, your age, length of service, availability of alternative employment, level of responsibility, and level of remuneration will be taken into account in calculating the period of reasonable notice.
I think my employer has offered me a generous severance package.
Many employers want you to think that their first severance offer is a generous one so that you’ll accept it. However, in the majority of cases, your employer’s first offer is not their best offer, and is likely less than you would be entitled to in Court.
My employer wants me to sign an exit package before I can receive my severance package.
Do not sign or accept a severance offer without speaking to an employment lawyer. The terms of a severance agreement can be difficult to understand, and therefore it is crucial to seek legal advice from an employment lawyer who can review a severance offer made to you and explain your options moving forward.
What can Taylor & Blair LLP do for me?
We have helped hundreds of wrongfully dismissed employees negotiate severance agreements.We can help you understand what is being offered, and if the offer is below your legal entitlement, then we can explain your options moving forward to obtain a fair severance package, in plain language that you can understand.
You have an absolute right to consult with a lawyer and to protect your rights before signing or accepting a settlement offer. Do not sign any severance offer or agreement until you have spoken to a lawyer.
If you’ve been terminated or laid off, schedule a consultation to ensure you’re receiving a fair severance package.