How long does a discharged employee have to accept a severance pay offer?

Employee is over 40. We allowed 21 days from discharge Nov 2 2009. Another month will have passed without a response to accept, reject, or counteroffer as of Dec 23.

We did not write in an "end date" to the offer.

Can we write a follow up letter and set an "end date"? How long should we allow for a decision?

1 answer  |  asked Dec 16, 2009 12:27 PM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

Answers (1)

John Otto
Understand there is no law requiring you to pay severance pay (other than earned but unused vacation time.) So, your offer to pay severance can be withdrawn at any time before it is accepted. Once it has been accepted, there is a contract and it cannot be withdrawn. It would be courteous to give the former employee a deadline say, a week or two to accept the offer before it is withdrawn, but there would be no requirement to do so. You really should talk to your company attorney about this, because you might want to couple the offer of an acceptance package to a release of all claims he/she might have against you. But it needs to be properly drawn to be effective.

posted by John Otto  |  Dec 16, 2009 12:46 PM [EST]  [ Best Answer - selected by asker ]

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