Severance Laws in New York City

The unfortunate masses that have experienced layoffs secondary to the economic climate are now searching for answers to New York City’s severance laws.

Frequently asked questions include:

  • Do my employers have to provide severance pay?
  • My employer told me that I have to agree not to sue in order to receive severance pay; is that legal?
  • Do I get benefits if my employer has a severance plan?
  • What happens if I try to negotiate for a better severance package?
  • Why do I have to wait a period of time before I can accept my severance agreement?
  • I don’t know what my severance rights are; what should I do?
  • I can’t find enough legal information about severance rights in New York City; where should I look?

While New York City severance and employment laws are entirely too robust and extensive to cover in a single article, we’d like to briefly outline some general rules of thumb.

Is Severance in NYC Required?

In a nutshell, New York City businesses are not legally required to provide severance pay when an employee has been laid off or terminated, unless a pre-existing employment agreement, contract or company policy states otherwise. If such a document or policy exists where the employer has agreed to pay severance to the employee, they are almost certainly required to pay according to the severance agreement terms.

Although New York City employment laws do not require a business to provide severance pay, creating such a policy or package with a specialized New York City severance lawyer will increase the likelihood of acquiring and retaining quality employees. Typically, severance packages are negotiated as a general employee benefit during pre-employment agreements and oftentimes are found in the employee handbook or as a stated policy of the company. These policies or drafted employment agreements are best created with the help of a law firm that specializes in severance or employment law. These specialized attorneys can customize handbooks and agreements to reflect the individual needs of each company, including fulfillments obligations by the employee, stock options, insurance benefits, unemployment benefits and more.

Contact an Attorney

If you’ve been laid off or terminated from a job in New York City, contacting a professional lawyer versed in severance pay to discuss your employee rights is the first step in securing your future.

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