Severance Package – Everything You Need To Know

Farwah Jafri | March 29 2023

A severance package is an agreement between an employer and an employee, usually in the event of a layoff, termination, or retirement. It is a set of benefits or compensation the employer agrees to provide the employee. 

Severance packages may include various benefits, such as a lump-sum payment, continuing health benefits, and job placement assistance. The specific terms of a severance package will depend on the employer’s policies and the individual circumstances of the employee’s departure.

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What Benefits Are Included in the Severance Package?  

The specific benefits included in a severance package can vary depending on the employer, the employee’s position, and the circumstances of the termination. However, here are some common benefits that may be included in a severance package:  

1. Payment

One of the most important benefits of a severance package is the payment offered to the employee. This may be a lump sum pay, a series of payments over time, or a combination of both.  

2. Health Insurance

Severance packages may include continued health insurance coverage for a certain period. This can be especially important for employees who need help finding new health insurance.  

3. Retirement Benefits

Depending on the employer and the employee’s retirement plan, a severance package may include a continuation of retirement benefits such as contributions to a pension plan.  

4. Outplacement Services

Some employers offer outplacement services to help the terminated employee find a new job. This may include resume writing assistance, job search coaching, and networking opportunities.  

5. Stock Options

If the employee has stock options, the severance package may include accelerated vesting or an extended exercise period to give the employee time to exercise the options.  

6. Vacation and Sick Time

The employee may receive payment for unused sick days.  

It’s important to note that not all employers offer severance packages. The benefits included in a severance package rely on the employer and the circumstances of the termination. It’s always a good idea for employees to review their employment contract or company policy to understand what benefits they may be entitled to in the event of a termination.  

What is a Severance Agreement?  

A severance agreement, also known as a separation agreement, is a legally binding contract between an employer and an employee that outlines the terms of the employee’s departure from the company. The agreement typically includes provisions related to compensation, benefits, and other considerations the employer is providing to the departing employee in exchange for certain promises made by the employee, such as a release of claims against the employer and a promise not to compete with the company.  

What Can Be Negotiated In A Severance Agreement? 

The following are some of the points that can be negotiated in a severance agreement:  

1. Severance Pay

The amount and timing of any severance payment the employer will provide to the departing employee.  

2. Benefits

The duration and type of benefits, such as healthcare, retirement, and stock options, the employee will receive after leaving the company.  

3. Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation

Restrictions on the departing employee’s ability to compete with the company or solicit its clients or employees.  

4. Confidentiality

The employee must maintain the confidentiality of the company’s trade secrets and other confidential information.  

5. References

A promise by the employer to provide a positive reference to future employers.  

6. Release of Claims

A release of any claims the employee may have against the employer arising from the employment relationship.  

7. Legal Fees

A provision stating which party will be responsible for paying any legal fees associated with negotiating or enforcing the agreement.  

It’s important to note that the terms of a severance agreement are often negotiable, and both parties may have different priorities and concerns that can be addressed during the negotiation process.  

Severance Package vs Severance Agreement

A severance package is a set of benefits an employer may offer an employee upon their termination. These benefits may include some amount of payment, continued health insurance coverage, extended access to company resources, or other incentives.  

On the other hand, a severance agreement is a legal document that highlights the terms and conditions of the severance package. It is a contract between the employer and the employee that specifies what the employee will receive in exchange for signing the agreement. 


Severance packages are intended to provide financial security and support for employees who are losing their jobs and help them transition to new employment. They may also serve as a way for the employer to mitigate potential legal disputes or negative publicity arising from an employee’s departure. Whereas, by signing the severance agreement, the employee agrees to the terms and conditions specified in the agreement. The agreement includes any provisions that may limit their ability to take legal action against the employer or work for a competitor in the future. 

Read Also: How To Build a Startup Founder Equity Agreement

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Author Bio

Farwah is the Product Owner of Monily. She has an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School, UK. She is passionate about helping businesses overcome challenges that hamper their growth, which is why she is working at Monily to facilitate entrepreneurs to efficiently manage business finances and stay focused on growth.