What exactly is severance pay?

My husband overheard a conversation in December in which his boss was offering his job to another employee. When confronted his boss told him yes he was planning on laying him off. My husband asked him to please get with him ASAP on the details of his departure. Needless to say this went on for almost 7 weeks with his boss "dodging" the discussion. We both feel like the "dodging" was becuase he was caught off guard and not prepared for my husbands departure with a replacement. At the end of February he finally told him that beginning March 1st he should start taking a couple of hours out of each working day to work a job search and he would get back with him on more details. Today he has received a written document in which his boss states that his last day of employment is April 30th. He also stated that he is receiving 10 months of severance pay but since he told him March 1st to begin his job search that March and April are considered the first two months of his severance pay and his last month would be December. My husband has taken very little time off at his job for a job search because of his loyalty to his team and he also did not want to jeapordize any chances of a good severance package so he has been working very hard at his job and earning every bit of his paycheck. We know that severance is not required and that chances are great that he will only get paid through December but I personally don't like the implication that his boss has made that he is getting 10 months severance. Is there any reason we should argue with his semantics? Or do you think we should just let this go. I guess one question would be is how is "severance pay" actually defined?

2 answers  |  asked Apr 14, 2003 1:53 PM [EST]  |  applies to Texas

Answers (2)

Margaret A. Harris
Severance Pay

The company may be offering it because it has a specific "plan," meaning an employee benefit plan that is protected under federal law. Or, it may be offering this out of the "goodness of its heart." Most of the time, the company wants a signed agreement from the employee receiving the severance that the employee gives up all his/her rights to sue the company -- like, for example, for age discrimination, gender or race discrimination, and other claims. Before your husband signs any document like that, you really should get legal advice. Ten months is, generally speaking, pretty good, but I still advise that you visit with a lawyer before your husband signs anything. Those agreements are usually very, very one-sided. Call if you want an appointment to consult with me about it (713.526.5677), or see another lawyer before signing anything. Just make sure that the appointment is with a lawyer who usually represents employees in employment-related matters. These matters can be complicated. Good luck.

posted by Margaret A. Harris  |  Apr 14, 2003 7:20 PM [EST]
Trey Henderson

I am not really sure what you are asking. Severance pay in Texas is not mandatory. However, the company must pay it if they have a contractual obligation or if the compnay plan specifies one.

posted by Trey Henderson  |  Apr 14, 2003 2:21 PM [EST]

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