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Ask the Expert (Severance Entitlement Pay)

Ask the Expert?

By Melynda Layton LLB

As Published in January 20, 2006 Edition of the Stittsville Weekender


I was just laid off. My company is offering me a package but I need some advice. Is there a minimum amount they have to offer me? Should I go see a lawyer?


Losing your job is always a traumatic experience. Most people just take the money and run, not wanting to deal with the embarrassment of letting others know they were laid off or terminated. It can be hard enough to tell your friends and family, little less a stranger.

I’ve been there and so has my husband and it is always in your best interest to talk to a lawyer to ensure at the very least the company is offering you a fair severance package.

The law states there is a minimum entitlement to a package, depending on how long you have worked at your workplace. If you have worked there less than three months, you are not entitled to any notice or severance. If you have worked there longer than three months you are entitled to a package. The basic rule of thumb is one week of pay for every year of employment at that company. This is not to say that you are not entitled to more, if the circumstances are right.

The important thing to remember is the Employment Standards Act sets a “minimum” not a maximum amount. The amount is not set in stone for the employer and depending on your circumstances you may be entitled to a package larger than the minimums. Some of the factors that determine your package include your age and the availability of other employment, how long you have worked for your employer, availability of work in your field, your position, and level of your employment. If you have relocated from another city or been recruited away from another company, these can also play a factor in determining what is a fair settlement.

Remember you have rights. Being informed provides your best tool for making sure your severance package is fair and reasonable and you are well on your way to the next chapter in your career.

To ask a question or for further advice please contact Melynda at or by telephone at 613-225-4400