The Five Big Tips to Help You Negotiate Your Severance Package in Florida
Leaving a job can be challenging. Whether you are doing so on your own volition or you are being laid off by your employer, there can be some significant logistical and financial challenges. A severance package can help ease the transition. However, severance pay is not guaranteed by law in Florida. You have the right to negotiate the terms of any severance agreement offered by your employer. Here, employees will find five big tips that they can use to negotiate a more favorable severance package in Florida. For more information, check out our podcast episode on Severance: Can My Employer Refuse to Offer?
- Know that You are Not Required to Accept an Initial Severance Offer
Many employees believe that the first severance package they are presented with is the only option. However, in some cases, a severance package can be negotiable. Employers may initially offer a lower amount, expecting some back-and-forth. It is important to note that, because severance is not guaranteed in Florida, the employer may retract offers if they feel an employee is being unreasonable. While you can negotiate, your negotiations should still be reasonable.
- Take Your Time to Understand Any Severance Proposal
When presented with a severance package, it is crucial not to rush into a decision. These documents can be dense and filled with legal jargon and terms that might not be immediately clear. Take a few days to go over every clause. Ensure you comprehend aspects like the duration of your severance pay, any non-compete stipulations, and other potential conditions.
Note: Remember, a severance agreement will generally require an employee to sign a release of claims against his or her employer.
- Seek Professional Legal Guidance and Support
Given the legal complexities surrounding severance agreements, it is wise to consult with an employment attorney. You do not have to take on an employer alone. An experienced Florida employment law attorney can review a proposed severance agreement and help you negotiate more favorable terms.
- Develop Sound Reasoning for Increasing Your Severance Pay
When negotiating, it is generally not enough just to ask for more—you should always be prepared to back up your request with solid reasoning. Perhaps you have been with the company for many years, perhaps you have consistently demonstrated loyalty and were a strong performer, or perhaps you have a potential claim against your employer. Regardless, you should be ready to explain why you deserve a greater level of severance.
- Consider Additional Benefits (Health Coverage, Letter of Recommendation, etc)
While monetary compensation (severance pay) is usually at the forefront of severance negotiations, you should not forget to factor in other benefits. In some cases, a creative approach can result in a better severance package. For instance, extended health coverage can be invaluable, especially if you anticipate a gap before securing a new position. A glowing letter of recommendation can make your job hunt smoother, bridging the gap between your past and future roles. At a minimum, you should at least ask for a neutral reference.
Get Help From a Severance Agreement Attorney in Florida
Negotiating a severance package is complicated. It is crucial that an employee is able to protect their rights and their interests. If you have any specific questions or concerns about a proposed severance agreement, an experienced Florida employment lawyer can help.