Severance Packages


When starting a new job, it is common practice for your employer to require you to fill out any paperwork. An employment agreement containing a severance package (when employers offer severance packages). Those who have not read a severance agreement before can be confusing, but you must read the severance package document thoroughly.

The employment agreement (including the severance package document) will have to be signed to accept the position. The law blog for J.P. Ward & Associates outlines some of the most common (and most important) areas of these agreements so that you can understand exactly what you are signing.

Although employment agreements may seem like they only benefit the employer, portions of the agreement are also beneficial for the new employee. This is especially true in the case of the severance package, so it is even more crucial that potential employees review severance agreements thoroughly.

What Is a Severance Agreement?

A typical severance package is a clause in an employment agreement that most often covers the dispersal of ‘severance pay to a terminated employee. Severance pay in the separation agreement refers to payments that an employer makes to a former employee when the employee separates from the position.

These clauses are most commonly located in an employment contract’s ‘conditions of termination’ section. When employers provide severance pay, it is essential that the employees understand the separation agreement and what employee benefits they are eligible for.

A severance package may also cover employee resignations when such resignations are for ‘good reason.’ This governs situations where the employer makes an unfavorable change to the employee’s working conditions, such as a reduction in pay, loss of responsibilities, or a downgrade in the title.

There are five primary forms of severance pay, including:

  • None at all;
  • Unemployment compensation;
  • Severance pay plans;
  • Voluntary severance pay; and
  • Bargained-for severance by agreement.

For more information on each of these types of severance pay, check out our blog post on the topic here.

Who Is Eligible for Severance Pay?

Unfortunately, not all employees are entitled to severance pay. If you fall into the category of at-will employee, you will likely not receive a severance package when you separate from your employment. This is because at-will employees do not have a right to receive severance packages.

An at-will employee relationship is where the employer can terminate the employee for any reason and at any time. In such a relationship, the employee is also permitted to end the relationship for any reason. Most employment relationships with no employment contract are presumed to be at-will employment relationships. This also means that there is no severance agreement.

However, if you have signed an employment contract, you may have also signed a severance agreement with attached benefits. Contact an experienced employment law attorney to determine if you are eligible to file a suit to receive severance pay following your termination.

How Can Attorneys Help with Severance Agreements?

Negotiating a severance agreement can be complicated. You want to make sure that the legal claims you have for severance pay are equitable and beneficial to you. It is always important to remember that your financial future may rest on the terms of your severance agreement. That is why it is important to consult a severance agreement attorney and get the assistance of employment lawyers before you accept any severance packages outright.

At J.P. Ward & Associates in Pittsburgh, PA, you will work with an experienced employment law attorney to discuss your situation. We have the experience, skills, and negotiating prowess to effectively protect your legal rights in employment contracts and during severance negotiations. Our legal team will form a solid attorney-client relationship with you to ensure that your life and financial future are secured and protected.

Contact Our Severance Package Attorneys in Pittsburgh, PA

If you are just starting a new job and are unsure about whether to sign an employment agreement that contains a severance package, the employment lawyers at J.P. Ward & Associates are here to provide legal assistance. Our dedicated employment law attorneys will go through the agreement step-by-step with you to determine what is in your best interest.

For your free consultation with an employment attorney at J.P. Ward & Associates, contact us by filling out our online contact form or calling (833)-GOT-FIRED. We have a vast knowledge of employment law. We will work tirelessly to protect you during this stressful and difficult time and prevent you from enduring unpaid wages or other issues related to legal claims.

Call us today to schedule your free case evaluation with our employment lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA.