Often when an employee is laid off or downsized or “terminated without cause”, they are offered what is known as a severance or termination package. This package is usually a sum of money, working notice, or a combination of working notice and pay in lieu of notice. In exchange for offering this severance package, the employer expects the employee to sign a release by a deadline.
But is the severance package a fair one according to the law? If you feel your severance package is unfair, can you negotiate any improvement?
For most non-unionized employees in Ontario, the Employment Standards Act sets out the minimum standards for the amount of reasonable notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice (which is generally a maximum of 8 weeks).
On the other end of the spectrum, an employee’s common law entitlement is the upper range of reasonable notice or pay in lieu (which can be as high as 24 months or even more). How much an employee is entitled to under this “ceiling” depends on a variety of factors including:
- The employee’s age at time of termination
- Their length of service
- Their salary
- The nature of their employment; and
- The availability of comparable employment.
If you have been offered a severance package by your employer, have it reviewed by an experienced employment lawyer. Even if your employer claims your employment contract limits your entitlements, in reality, you could be entitled to considerably more financial compensation than what you have been offered.
We can help you negotiate a better severance package. Contact us today and find out how we can help you get more compensation than what your employer is offering.