DEFINITION of 'Silver Parachute'
A form of severance paid to the employees of a company that is taken over by another company. Silver parachutes include severance pay, stock options and bonuses. Silver parachutes are generally extended to a large number of employees and often appear as clauses in hiring contracts that call for lucrative severance packages if an employee leaves the company, or, in particular, after a merger, acquisition or other change in corporate control.
BREAKING DOWN 'Silver Parachute'
Silver parachutes are similar to golden parachutes, which are received by the top executives in the corporation. A silver parachute is typically smaller, but more employees are eligible to receive one. Golden and silver parachutes are named such because they are intended to provide a "soft landing" for employees who lose their jobs either through corporate restructuring, mergers or other reasons. In certain cases, a silver parachute clause specifies that the benefits go into effect only if the company is taken over by another company, resulting in the employee losing his or her job.