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How to negotiate severance pay if you’re facing termination

There may come a point when you get wind that you're about to lose your job. Maybe this comes from the human resources department. Maybe it comes from your direct supervisor. Regardless of how you find out about it, you need to take immediate steps to protect yourself.

Negotiating severance pay during this difficult time is never easy, but there are steps you can take to ease the tension:

  • Review your employment contract: This is where you'll find information pertaining to severance pay if you negotiated it upfront.
  • Ask for more: You don't have anything to lose at this point, so don't hesitate to ask your employer to increase your severance payment. Making a reasonable request puts you in a better position for success.
  • Learn more about insurance: For example, if you receive health insurance through your employer, you'll want to learn more about The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1995 (COBRA). This allows you to continue your health insurance coverage for up to 18 months after losing your job. While you're required to pay for this expense if you opt into coverage, it's something you can negotiate.
  • Ask about payment for unused benefits: For example, you may be entitled to pay for unused personal time and vacation days.

If termination is on the horizon, follow these steps as you negotiate severance pay with your employer. You may run into some trouble along the way, so make sure you always fall back on your employment contract and your legal rights. Doing so will put you in a position to receive all the compensation that's due to you during this challenging time.

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