August 17, 2015
Some issues need to be dealt with promptly following your layoff:
☞ Assessing/negotiating your severance or settlement offer
☞ Applying for Employment Insurance
☞ Financial planning
☞ Accessing other supports and services
Immediately following the dismissal, you may feel ill-prepared to make decisions regarding your needs and those of your family, but often the situation dictates that you address these issues within a period of a week to a month. Because of the potential that you are experiencing a shock reaction, it is advisable to avoid making sudden decisions on your own. Rather, ask someone you trust who can be objective and level-headed, to assist you through this stage, to give you feedback and support.Outlined below are some considerations concerning each of these issues.
If you were in a permanent position with the organization before your layoff chances are you have presented a severance or settlement package during your exit interview. In some cases, employers urge their laid off staff to sign a document agreeing to the package immediately. It is essential to take some time to consider the offer before making a decision to accept it. Do not sign anything yet. Get some input from someone who is knowledgeable in this area to ensure that you are getting the best deal possible.
Assessing/ Negotiating Your Severance Package To Get The Best Deal Possible
” I told them I wouldn’t sign anything yet; I had to take it home and read it. Well, it was a standard package according to the Labour Standards Ad, but I talked to a lawyer who said it wasn’t a good deal in my case. So, I decided to pursue legal action, but before we made it to court, the President of the company met with me and we negotiated a better deal. ” Randy, 34, estimator
NOTE: If the business you worked for is closing and declaring bankruptcy, a trustee of bankruptcy will be appointed. Contact the administrator to investigate a settlement.
Some Considerations for Assessing Your Severance Offer
1. Does the package presented to you meet the minimum requirements as laid out by the Employment Standards Codes? The criteria could state that you are entitled to receive from one to eight weeks notice of termination; length of notice is dependent on the length of service with the company Your employer has the option to pay wages instead of written notice. The employer also has the option of providing a combination of written notice and salaries.
NOTE: Employment standards vary from province to province. Contact the local Labor Standards Office in your region or state for details. If you require assistance in determining whether your package is a fair deal, contact the Labor Standards Office or seek professional advice from a lawyer experienced in the area of layoffs. Some things to consider before seeking out the services of an attorney to pursue litigation:
☞ Will the cost of a lawyer outweigh the potential benefit of increased settlement
☞ Is litigation necessary to obtain a more satisfactory solution or is it possible to settle amicably
☞ Will pursue legal action against my former company have a detrimental effect on my career? (i.e. future employment opportunities in related fields)
☞ Does the package offer a continuation of your benefits for the duration of the severance periods? If not, attempt to negotiate it (if these are not covered already by a spouse’s plan).
Include any medical, dental, and insurance coverage paid for by the company during your employment. If negotiations are not looking favorable, you may wish to consider offering to pay part or all of the premiums yourself, so that you can still take advantage of the group rate that you wouldn’t qualify for as an individual.
What are the payout options? Are you being offered a lump sum, bi-weekly installments, or are you being maintained on record as a salaried employee For a pre-determined terms how will this affect your taxable incomes.
Have outplacement services been offered as part of the packages? While these services are not mandatory for the employer to include, many recognize their value and willingly provide them to their laid off employees. Find out exactly what your company is providing you with and ensure you get the best deal possible. Seek more than resume writing services.
Useful outplacement services include supportive individualized counselling and group workshops in the following areas:
☞ coping with the layoff
☞ employment exploration
☞ goal setting
☞ effective job search skills
☞ resume writing
☞ interview techniques
☞ financial planning.
In some cases, outplacement agencies provide office space, support staff, telephone answering services and special interest workshops (e.g. Exploring Entrepreneurship).
If your former employer is not willing to purchase outplacement services for you, try to negotiate an increase in your severance monies so that you may obtain these services on your own.
A formula that some organizations have used to calculate the amount of outplacement services required is: For every $10,000 the employee earned, one month of outplacement counselling is recommended, (e.g. Bob makes $60,000 per annum = six months outplacement services)
While six months of outplacement services is a generous package, the minimum you should request is a set number of days of individual and group sessions, with feedback on your resume, job search techniques and coping strategies.
Have you been provided with letters of recommendation or request they be provided?
Once all the terms of the agreement have been satisfactorily addressed, get them in writing. Ensure you get a signed document with all of the terms and conditions clearly laid out.
Apply For Employment Insurance Immediately.
You should file immediately upon becoming unemployed, regardless of whether you qualify for employment payments at the time. Your severance will have an impact on your insurability, but employment insurance you must be assessed by an insurance agent immediately following your layoff. Even if you do not qualify for payments initially, once you have an existing claim you are entitled to access other services.
Tips About Employment Insurance
Apply immediately at your nearest Employment Service Centre. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to have your Record of Employment at the time you initiate your claim. If you choose to wait for it, your claim will not be active until the week you file.
If you are unsure about whether you qualify for Employment Insurance, apply regardless. The insurance officer will assess your eligibility and advise you accordingly.
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