Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

What should a severance agreement cover?

Now that New York employees have a sense of when they should consider negotiating their severance agreement, the next question they may have is what is their severance agreement supposed to cover. It is a good idea to go over the severance agreement to ensure some key provisions are included in it and also be aware of what an employee is entitled to even if it is not included in the document. Once we look at what should be included in a severance agreement, next week this blog will talk about how to go about negotiating provisions in one.

First of all, if an employee is entitled to a severance amount, either through company policy or an employment contract, then it is does not matter if a severance agreement is signed or not -- the employee should get that money regardless of that. In addition to this, if the employer owes the employee money for unused vacation time or unreimbursed expenses, it must be paid regardless of the agreement.

Ensuring a few key provisions are included in the severance agreement may help employees tide the time between jobs. Employee benefits, such as health coverage and temporary continuation on the employer's medical plan ensure an employee does not have to worry about their health while they are sorting themselves out. Since an employee generally will work in the same field whenever they work again, they should ensure the severance agreement does not expand the restrictive covenant already created in the employment agreement.

It can be difficult to navigate the legalities of a severance agreement and intimidating to discuss it either with a future or former employer. It is possible to approach an experienced attorney for assistance on the matter to ensure the employee's rights are protected.

Source: Forbes, "The top ten reasons to hire a lawyer to review your severance agreement," Susan Adams, Dec. 1, 2011

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