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Severance Packages: What You Deserve and Your Company’s Obligation to Pay

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“The idea of having a steady job is appealing.”
Robin Williams

Severance Packages

A severance package from your employer can help keep you afloat financially as you look for another job, however, you must understand what a severance package is as well as what the average severance package is worth. Knowing this will make sure you are being compensated fairly. During hard economic times, a severance package can be a cushy buffer in case your company downsizes. It is imperative you know how to negotiate a reasonable and fair severance package as well as the conditions of your severance in order to decide whether severance is a good option for you.

Am I Legally Entitled to a Severance Package When I Am Laid Off?

Not necessarily. There is no requirement that your employer provide you with a severance package of any king. While an employer must provide unemployment compensation as a benefit, they are not legally obligated to give you any sort of severance pay.

How Much Can I Expect from a Typical Severance Package?

There is no set amount to what may be offered through a severance package. If you are an hourly employee, it is unlikely that you will be offered anything at all. A general guide for severance packages is one week of your salary for every year of service to the company. Executives often request a month of salary for every year of service. When negotiating a severance package with your company, it’s a good idea to know the value of your service to the company. Use that to increase your chances at getting a great severance package.

By Accepting a Severance Package, Am I Giving Up Any Other Rights?

Most likely, yes. Severance packages are usually offered to employees in exchange for an agreement to forfeit any legal claims against the company. Consult a qualified attorney to balance the difference between your legal claims and what the company is offering in your package.


If you are an employee who needs sound advice and vigorous representation for an employment opportunity or a legal dispute, call Goldman & Ehrlich at 312.332.6733 today or contact our Chicago office online.