Severance Contract Review Law in Florida for Employees

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Severance Contract Review Law in Florida for Employees

Employees in the state of Florida often are not aware of the requirements that surround companies offering severance packages. These are not required by law, but they are often used by companies to make sure that employees feel fairly compensated when they are released from a contract. This can help prevent conflict with staff that are upset about being let go from a job early.

If you have been offered a severance contract, you might not be sure if you should sign it. After all, these contracts indicate that you will not take any legal action against your former employer for releasing you from your contract early. This can be an ideal way to end a business relationship, but only if the contract is correctly drafted and fair. Having a skilled lawyer from the Lopez Law Group look at your severance contract can be a good way to ensure that you are getting a good or fair offer from your employer.

What is a Severance Contract?

A severance contract is a document that indicates what you will be paid and what benefits you will be offered if your employer releases you from a contract before you have completed the job at hand. This can also be a way to compensate employees during layoffs. Severance packages can include many things, from health insurance benefits that extend for a set period of time, to monetary compensation, to protection for retirement accounts and stock options.

You might not be sure if you are being offered a fair deal when you look at the contract that you have been offered. You should never sign this kind of document until you are sure that you are happy with the contents of the offer. Once you have signed a severance contract, you will effectively be closing the door on your options to negotiate for a better severance package and for options that are more in line with your needs now that your employment has ended.

Negotiating for Severance Packages

One of the key benefits to working with a skilled attorney when you have been offered severance pay is that you will be able to negotiate for improved pay and other benefits within the package. There are various components that go into these offers that you need to consider, and there are many variables involved that can impact your choices about how you are compensated for being terminated. Your lawyer can help you to make the wisest choices about these details so that you are compensated correctly after your termination.

1.       Severance Pay

This part of your severance package is the part that most people think of first when they hear that they are being terminated. This part of the package can be impacted by seniority at your company as well as your job title. You might be offered more compensation if you are in management or if you have been at the company for many years.

This does not mean that you should accept the first offer that you are delivered, however. You are intended to use this severance pay to help support you while you are looking for a new job, and you need to make sure that you are not being left without the support you need because of being released from your job.

You can elect to have your severance pay delivered as one lump sum, or you might want to have the pay delivered in increments. There are pros and cons to both, but the lump sum option is more commonly pursued if the relationship with your employer was not good by the time of your termination.

2.       Sick Leave or Vacation Pay

Most people have sick time and vacation pay that they have not used when they are terminated. You might not be sure what happens with these benefits when you are released from your job. Most employers pay out the vacation and sick time that you have not used as a lump sum when you leave your job. This is not always the case, but it is the most common way to handle these benefits. You will need to have your lawyer look into this part of your pay so that you do not forget to secure these benefits inside the compensation offer.

Severance Contract Review Law in Florida for Employees

3.       Benefits and Stocks

Benefits are things like health insurance, and you should be offered 18 months of healthcare benefits per the guidelines for COBRA. This law requires that employees are not left without health insurance when they are terminated, but you will usually need to pay a different premium than you paid when you were on staff. These benefits can extend up to 29 months after you have been released from your job. Death and disability benefits that are tied to your health insurance should also continue to apply.

Stock can also be part of your severance contract. If you have investments in the company like stock options, you have been vested slowly over time. If you were not vested before you were released from your contract, you might want to exercise your rights to sell your stock or to engage in other activities as per your rights at this stage of the severance process.

Your lawyer can also provide assistance with this part of the process and help you to navigate the investments and stocks part of the discussion. Outplacement assistance and other benefits might also be on the table, and you should talk with your lawyer before you accept or turn down any of these additional benefits. Some of the opportunities that you are given during a severance experience are much more helpful than you might realize, and signing them away by accident can be a big mistake.

Can I just Resign Instead?

Resignation is often not beneficial to those who know they are going to be terminated. This option often leaves you without any unemployment benefits, and you will not be offered a severance package in most cases, either. This is not an ideal way to leave a company that is downsizing or even a good idea when it comes to breaking ties with a company that you are struggling with working effectively with.

You should speak with your lawyer about your desire to resign and make sure that this is a good idea for your unique situation. In most cases, it places you at a legal disadvantage and it is not a great way to provide yourself with the support that you need to be able to track down a new job.

The Lopez Law Group works hard to be sure that employees do not sign away rights that they should exercise. Companies can release people from their job contracts and take other actions that might not seem ideal to you on the surface. However, these kinds of job status changes are often well-protected legally, and you should never panic. Make sure to take the time to bring your severance package or your notice that you are being terminated to a lawyer. A skilled legal expert can help you to navigate the process of being released from your job contract correctly and effectively.

Severance violations can happen on both sides of the severance process. You want to make sure that you are not engaging in behavior that is not lawful and that your employer is held accountable for potential violations that they have incurred against you. Employers cannot withhold pay or benefits, and you should be sure that you are not leaving important items off the table simply by being unaware that you can require them to be included in your severance package.

Severance Contract Review Law in Florida for Employees

Benefits of Working With a Skilled Legal Team

The severance process can be stressful and you might be overwhelmed with all the considerations that you have to have in mind during this change to your employment status. It can be understandable that you might not be sure if you are being offered a fair severance package. Most people are not aware of the various benefits that can be included in these severance offers, and just as many people do not know that you are allowed to negotiate for improvements to the offer that you have been given.

If you are not sure if the severance package that you were offered is one that you should accept, you can reach out to us at Lopez Law. We can help you to check out the various benefits that you are being offered, and we are happy to help you to develop a better severance package request that will more carefully cover you during the time that you are looking for a job. The team at Lopez Law Group has years of experience in this area of the law, and we work hard for our clients to make sure that they get the severance package that they deserve.

Contact us today, and let us help you to negotiate a fair and favorable severance package.

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