Severance Pay & Severance Packages

negotiating severanceDid you just receive a severance package? Employees who have been laid off or fired are wise to get severance package reviews from an employment lawyer at Monkhouse Law. Think of severance package reviews as a kind of insurance, an audit by an employment lawyer to make sure that your former employer is meeting the minimum standard for notice periods and for severance payments that may be owing to you. You should not sign off on your Severance Package before you know that your ex-employer has met all their legal obligations. Don’t settle for less than you are legally entitled to.

Severance Packages are typically bittersweet. Offered during a layoff or workforce reduction, they are intended to compensate the employee for their years with the company and to ensure that they remain financially stable until you are able to find re-employment.

At Monkhouse Law, we routinely help ex-employees with severance package reviews. Unfortunately, we find that with many severance packages, an employee has been offered sub-par compensation and/or benefits. Read our article on 9 Reasons You Need a Severance Package Review from an Employment Lawyer.

For example, employers will sometimes offer an employee what is deemed “minimum notice” in accordance with the provisions of the Employment Standards Act, 2000, [Part XV, “Termination of Employment”] or the Canada Labour Code [pages 42-45], or 8 weeks’ notice, saying that it is in accordance with the Ministry of Labour’s “Termination and Severance” guidelines. However, these are just the minimums, to which of course an employer will comply, like the minimum wage, because otherwise, charges might occur. See our article on how such minimums are often inappropriate. These are the kinds of things we find in severance package reviews.

Sealing agreement

The amount of severance and benefits you are entitled to depend on several factors, namely your years at the company, your tenure, and your other benefits during employment (health benefits, of course, and also where applicable, bonuses and commissions). The time invested in severance package reviews by a Toronto Employment Lawyer can uncover glaring omissions by employers, so severance package reviews are good protection.

It has been held that an employee is generally entitled to 3-5 weeks’ notice per year of service. Some courts have found that a month per year of service is an average of what is awarded, for instance, see: Ryshpan v. Burns Fry Ltd., 1995 7278 (ON SC), but other elongating factors come into play.

Short term employees (less than one year) might get almost as much time as if they had worked through the notice period, if not more time.

With long term employees, the court might find that the termination is effectively forced retirement and provide additional notice based on this.

Video: How to look at your Severance package

Andrew Monkhouse explains the reasons why it is crucial to contact a Toronto Employment Lawyer when you are presented with a Severance Package. In order to ensure that such packages are not signed under distress, employers will typically provide you with a one week period to seek independent legal advice regarding the Severance Package. Take advantage of this to ensure that you are not getting less than you are entitled to.

Simply fill out the form below for a free callback from us, in order to see if you should fight your Severance Package.

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