Understanding Your Rights When Offered a Severance Package in Arkansas
After working at a large company for years, employees often work their way up to executive roles. Executives put in long, hard hours and dedicate much of their lives to serving their employer. Unfortunately, sometimes restructuring or downsizing reduces the need for top and mid-level executives. This means that the company will have to lay off their workers. In Arkansas, there is no standard right to any type of compensation package, but large employers like Wal-Mart, Tyson and J.B. Hunt may be required to offer severance packages in line with what they have previously offered.
Severance packages range in size and scope. While there is no standard package, traditional packages tend to provide employees with one week of pay for each year they have been with the company. Top-level executives often receive packages worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. In Northwestern Arkansas, your employer will have to follow any terms in your employment contract or union contract.
In some cases, employees may be allowed to sign away their right to collect unemployment in exchange for the receipt of severance payments. Workers may also sign away their right to sue the employer for wrongful termination.
In addition to payments, separation packages often contain other forms of assistance. Your employer may provide you with help finding a new job or some form of job training to help you move to your next opportunity more easily.
Because severance packages are often optional, it may seem counterintuitive that employers are giving away free money. In reality, these payments create goodwill between the company and its former employees. This goodwill can carry over into future business relationships. Employees may also feel better working for a company and therefore work harder for that company when they believe the company will take care of them even after a layoff.
If your company is allowing you to negotiate your severance package, it is essential that you seek the assistance of an experienced employment attorney. Your attorney may be able to improve your financial package while reducing the rights you give up in exchange. You may be able to conduct these negotiations before you are even hired.
The law firm of James, Carter & Priebe, LLP represents executives and other employees in Northwest Arkansas who are facing the prospect of a layoff. Our firm operates in the Bentonville and Rogers areas while also serving Little Rock. Contact us online or call us today at 866.716.3242 to speak with an experienced employment law attorney.