37 Questions to Ask About Severance Packages

A severance package is a financial agreement between an employer and an employee at the time of termination. It’s intended to provide some income to the employee during the job search and transition period.

The package may also include other benefits such as outplacement assistance, health insurance, and continuation of some company-provided benefits. If you’ve recently been laid off or are thinking about taking a severance package, here are a few questions that may help.

37 Questions to ask about your severance package before you sign anything:

  1. How much severance pay will I receive?
  2. How will my severance pay be calculated?
  3. When will I receive my severance pay?
  4. Will the payments be paid in one lump sum or installments?
  5. Is my severance pay taxable?
  6. Do I have to sign a waiver or release to receive my severance pay?
  7. What other benefits am I entitled to?
  8. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?
  9. What happens to my health insurance coverage?
  10. What happens to my life insurance coverage?
  11. What happens to my retirement savings plan?
  12. Are there any restrictions on what I can do after I leave?
  13. Can I get help with my job search?
  14. Who can I contact if I have questions about my severance package?
  15. Where can I find more information about my rights as an employee?
  16. Do I need a lawyer to review my severance package before I sign it?
  17. What are the terms of the severance package?
  18. How long will the severance payments last?
  19. Is the severance package contingent on signing a non-compete clause?
  20. If I sign the severance package, can I still collect unemployment benefits?
  21. How much notice will I receive before my employment is terminated?
  22. What are the tax implications of the severance payment?
  23. Will I be paid for any unused vacation time?
  24. Will I be paid for unused sick time?
  25. Will I get a bonus this year? If so, when will it be paid?
  26. Am I entitled to commissions or other types of compensation? When will these be paid out?
  27. Do I have to repay an outstanding loan from my employer immediately?
  28. Will I receive a job reference from my employer?
  29. Do I have any outstanding projects that I need to complete before my employment ends?
  30. What’s the company’s policy on employees taking their personal belongings with them when they leave their job?
  31. Can I negotiate a better severance package?
  32. What outplacement services are available to me?
  33. What happens if I violate the terms of my severance package?
  34. What terms apply to my stock options if I’m terminated?
  35. What terms apply to my company-provided housing if I lose my job?
  36. What terms apply to my company car if I’m terminated?
  37. Can I keep my company laptop if I’m terminated?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you get severance pay if you quit?

Severance pay is a form of compensation offered to employees who are laid off or otherwise involuntarily terminated from their jobs.

Generally, employees who voluntarily leave their jobs aren’t entitled to severance pay because they have decided to leave their jobs on their own terms. However, there may be exceptions in certain cases, such as when an employee faces severe or unusual circumstances that make it difficult for him or her to continue working.

Whether you get severance pay when you quit ultimately depends on the specific terms of your employment contract and your company’s policies.

Should you ever negotiate severance?

Although some layoffs are unavoidable, it may be in your best interest to negotiate a severance package if you’re laid off. To successfully negotiate this type of severance, it’s important to be prepared and know the terms of your employment contract.

In addition, it may be beneficial to work with an employment attorney or other professional who can guide you through the negotiation process. Whether or not you should negotiate a severance package depends on several factors, including your personal situation and the circumstances surrounding your termination.

However, by being proactive and knowing your rights as an employee, you can increase your chances of receiving fair compensation during a difficult time.


Severance packages can be a great financial safety net if you lose your job; however, you must understand all the terms of your agreement before you sign anything. If you have any questions about your severance package, be sure to ask your HR representative or your attorney for clarification. And remember, you always have the right to refuse a severance package if it’s not in your best interest.

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