By Clay Wyatt
Posted on 03/29/2016

If you’re losing your job, you may be offered a severance package. While receiving any extra money to take with you at this time may be a welcome bonus, you might get even more if you negotiate. With this in mind, here are some tips on how to negotiate a severance package.

Don’t Immediately Take the Initial Offer

A few thousand extra dollars to walk away with may seem too tempting to resist. However, you won’t want to realize that you could have gotten a lot more five minutes after you agree to the deal. In other words, don’t immediately accept the initial offer.

Also, don’t immediately sign a waiver. According to Fox Business, most companies will give you a minimum of 24 hours to review it. For legal advice on this and anything else you may be asked to sign, contact an attorney.

Determine Whether it is Negotiable

While you’re always free to attempt to negotiate, the employer doesn’t necessarily have to agree to do so. With this in mind, factors that may influence whether the offer is negotiable include:

  • The number of people being let go
  • Your employer’s financial status
  • Your work record
  • How long you’ve worked there
  • Whether the employer has negotiated with other departing employees
  • The company’s culture

For example, if you’re viewed as a star employee and have worked there for 15 years, the company will probably be more willing to negotiate than if you started your job last month and haven’t had a significant chance to demonstrate your value. Similarly, if you know three former workers who successfully negotiated their severance packages with this employer, it is probably willing to budge on its offer.

Request a Higher Payout

According to Forbes, career coaches advise beginning with a higher payout. So if the current offer doesn’t match your needs, this is the first point you’ll want to negotiate.

Ask for Extended Health Benefits

Remember that you could lose more than a steady paycheck when you clock out for the final time. Your health benefits will likely also expire unless you take action to keep them. With this in mind, consider requesting an extension of your health benefits.

Negotiate Your Rehire Status

Chances are you’ll need a new job at some point in the future. With this in mind, negotiate to ensure that your employer will say it would rehire you if other employers call. Doing so will likely help you land a new job as prospective employers may see that as a good sign. All else equal, an employer will probably hire you over someone whose former employer would not rehire him in such a situation.

The Bottom Line

Losing your job isn’t an ideal situation. However, you may be able to soften the blow by negotiating a larger severance package. Keep the mentioned tips in mind to improve your odds of walking away from your job in the best possible financial condition and landing a new one in the future.