When does the 21-days review period begin?

My company has offered me a severance package today 11/18/05 and stated that my last day of employment will be 11/30/05. However, the letter states that I will have 21-days to review the agreement/offer. I might be reading it wrong, but should I not have 21 days to review this document prior to my termination? Or is the review period enacted on the day of termination?

1 answer  |  asked Nov 18, 2005 8:50 PM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

Answers (1)

Aaron Maduff
When does the 21-days review period begin?

Companies typically put a limit on how long one has to review a severance agreement from the date the employee gets it because they do not want to be in limbo forever. In addition, if you are over 40 the Older worker's Benefits Protection Act requires that to waive any age discrimination claims they must give you at least 21 days to review it and you can revoke your signature within 7 days of signing it. As a result, although there is no hard and fast law on how long it has to be in other cases, the severance agreement is an offer that under standard contract law must be accepted within the time period set by the company, and the company usually sets that at a uniform 21 days. However, companies usually want the severance signed because you are waiving rights when you do. As a result, we very often have negotiated severance packages and have gotten more than the 21 days to do it. (When they are dealing with a lawyer, the company knows that the deal will get done fairly quickly so they tend to be willing to waive the 21 day period or extend it.) But the key is that you can negotiate your severance package and you should always have an attorney review it BEFORE you sign it to make sure that you are not waiving any claims you might have that are worth more. You should call us or one of the other fine employment lawyers at MEL.
Aaron Maduff

posted by Aaron Maduff  |  Nov 21, 2005 10:08 AM [EST]

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