Your employer offered you a severance package, but it’s not quite what you expected. Is it what you’re entitled to? And what happens if it’s not? No matter what amount you’re offered, you would benefit from a severance package review by an employment lawyer.
Termination Pay vs Severance Pay in Alberta
First things first: What is termination pay? And is it the same as severance pay?
The Employment Standards Code governs employment in Alberta, including termination and severance pay. Under the Code, an employer is required to provide a minimum amount of notice or pay in lieu of notice when terminating an employee without cause. Severance pay is an amount in addition to termination pay. Not all employees are entitled to severance pay.
How Much Severance Pay Am I Entitled To?
Calculating the amount of severance pay you’re entitled to is complex. Over 100 factors affect severance pay, including common law, which is a series of previous court decisions in Alberta and other provinces. Some other factors that can determine fair severance pay include:
- For cause or without cause termination
- Length of your employment with the company
- Employee’s age
- Employee’s role and responsibilities
- Current employment market
Your employment contract will also affect your severance pay entitlement. Your severance amount may include bonuses, commissions, incentives, profit sharing, or other benefits.
Because there are so many factors to consider, it’s best to consult with an employment lawyer to determine the severance amount you’re entitled to.
Why Should I Get A Severance Package Review?
The short answer is: peace of mind.
There are severance pay calculators online, but these are often inaccurate and misleading because of the uniqueness of each situation.
When a Calgary employment lawyer reviews your severance package, you can rest assured that you’re getting the maximum amount you’re entitled to. You can be certain you’re not forfeiting any of your rights, and you may have the advantage of keeping your health benefits longer.
If you’re not receiving a fair deal, your employment lawyer can inform you of your legal options and help you make a claim against your employer, if you choose to do so.
3 Benefits of a Severance Package Review
Here are 3 benefits of a severance package review.
1. Get The Maximum Amount You’re Entitled To.
Many employers offer the minimum amount of severance pay, but you might be entitled to more than the minimum. Depending on the terms of your employment contract, and how the contract is worded or written, you may be entitled to more than they’re offering. Also, the factors mentioned above could increase the amount you’re entitled to.
A severance package review by a Calgary employment lawyer will ensure that all factors are considered and that you receive the maximum amount you’re entitled to.
2. Avoid Forfeiting Your Rights.
If your employer wants you to sign a release upon your termination, get a review first! Once that release is signed, it’s extremely difficult to bring a claim against your employer in the future.
You have a legal right to take a reasonable amount of time to review everything with your employment lawyer before signing. This way, you can protect your rights and be sure you understand the terms of your release, including your severance package.
3. Keep Your Benefits Longer.
If your employment included benefits such as prescriptions, therapy, dental visits, or disability leave, you want to keep access to those benefits as long as possible. It can be a financial shock to lose these benefits suddenly.
An employment lawyer can review your employment contract and the terms of your benefits to determine if your access to these benefits can be extended.
Does A Severance Package Review Mean I Have To Go To Court?
Not necessarily. A severance package review is between you and your lawyer. If your lawyer thinks you may be entitled to more severance pay than what your employer is offering, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a better deal for you out of court.
If out-of-court negotiations are unsuccessful, or if your case is a special circumstance, the best course of action may be to file a claim.
Meet With a Calgary Employment Lawyer for a Severance Package Review
Never accept a severance offer or sign a release from your employer until you’ve consulted an employment lawyer. Employers often pressure you to sign quickly, but even if the severance package is fair, it’s important that you understand what you’re signing and what it will mean for your future.
A severance package review with an employment lawyer should include:
- A comprehensive review of your severance package offer and any other documents related to your release, including your employment contract
- A clear explanation of your legal rights and entitlements under the Employment Standards Code of Alberta
- A severance pay calculation based on your unique situation, including the details of your employment and other factors that affect your entitlements
- Practical, easy-to-understand recommendations and options for next steps
Understanding and negotiating severance packages with your employer can be stressful. Let us help. The employment lawyers at Getz Collins & Associates in Calgary and Strathmore want you to get a fair deal. We understand what’s at stake for you, and we will work to ensure you receive what you’re entitled to. Contact us for a severance package review today.