Temporary job - can it affect my possible severance pay?

I got laid-off in April '09 and was told I could be called back in the Fall. If I'm not called back I will be terminated on Jan 1 2010. I haven't been recalled and most likely won't be. Since then, I've been offered a temporary job. Will my acceptance of this temporary job affect my possible severance pay in January? The temporary job will remain temporary at least through February 1st and could be eliminated at any time.

1 answer  |  asked Oct 7, 2009 8:32 PM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (1)

Christopher Ezold
Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, employees do not have an independent right to severance, so there are no legal requirements for severance. Instead, severance is either a 'gift' from the employer, or a matter of contract between you and the employer. If it is at the employer's discretion (i.e. a gift), then the employer could take the part-time job into account when determining whether or how much severance to pay you. If severance is a matter of an employment contract/union contract, then the terms of the contract would determine whether the part-time job would affect your severance. Generally, unless the contract specifically eliminates or reduces severance for terminated employees who get new jobs, the severance is likely still payable.

The temporary job will affect your unemployment rights, however. Failure to take a job may reduce your right to unemployment; taking the job may reduce or eliminate your right to the full amount of your unemployment compensation.

In general, especially in this economy, it is not wise to refuse to take a job if it would otherwise suit you.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
Nancy O'Mara Ezold, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Suite 501
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  Oct 8, 2009 06:32 AM [EST]

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