Severance Pay

What is a 'Severance Pay'

A severance pay is the compensation that an employer provides to an employee who has been laid off, whose job has been eliminated, who through mutual agreement has decided to leave the company, or who has parted ways with the company for other reasons. Typically, severance pay amounts to a week or two of pay for every year that the employee was with the company. Executives may receive a month's pay for each year of service and senior executives generally receive severance pay as outlined in the employment contract. In addition to pay, severance packages can include extended benefits, such as health insurance and outplacement assistance to help the employee secure a new position.

BREAKING DOWN 'Severance Pay'

Not all companies provide severance pay to employees upon termination and those that do may not provide severance pay to all employees. Severance pay is typically issued on a case-by-case basis and as dictated by any employment contracts in place during hiring. No law requires employers to provide severance pay; however, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates that an employer must pay the employee whose employment has been terminated through their last day of work and any vacation time that the employee has accrued. If severance pay is received, any unemployment compensation to which the individual is entitled will be accordingly reduced.

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