Employment

Are Fired Employees Eligible for a Severance Package?

are-fired-employees-eligible-for-a-severance-packageSeverance usually takes the form of pay and/or benefits that an employee receives once s/he leaves a company. Often severance takes the form of pay for unused vacation time, compensation for a late notice period, and some form of retirement benefit.

Severance Pay in California.  Are employers in California, though, required to make severance payments? Well, California calls severance pay “separation pay” or “termination pay” and typically doesn’t require it from employers.

By whichever name it takes, severance pay is not completely guaranteed in California, but you could receive some compensation if you were, for instance, involved in a mass layoff or signed a contract guaranteeing you severance pay.

Who’s Entitled to Severance?  Severance compensation is sometimes given to employees in California who have been terminated or who have decided to leave a company after years of gainful employment.

In many cases severance pay acts as a life raft to keep California’s recently unemployed afloat financially. The additional months of income can help someone recently unemployed make utility, mortgage and other kinds of basic payments.

As a general rule of thumb, though, an employer in California is not legally obligated to give his or her employees severance packages. The exception to this rule would be an employer-employee contract that stipulated a severance package.

Likelihood of Receiving Severance.  More often than not, severance packages are given to employees based on the employer’s capacity to make future severance payments.

Many employers, especially those running small businesses, simply cannot make severance payments and, therefore, omit severance packages from employment contracts.

Two other factors that may determine your likelihood of receiving a severance package in California are employment history and the way in which you left the company.

If you’ve been with the company for fifteen years, as opposed to two years, you’re more likely to receive a severance package.

Additionally, if you left the company and your employer on good terms – as opposed to a termination because of some workplace negligence – then you’re also more likely to get a severance package from your employer.

That said, employers in California are usually not legally obligated to make severance payments.

When Will You Receive Severance?  If your employer worked in a severance package into the employment contract that you signed with your employer, perhaps as an incentive to take the job in the first place, then you are legally entitled to receive severance.

In California, as in other states, severance payments could be much more than simply the employer thanking the employee for years of hard work.

Severance can, in some instances, preclude an employee from working with a company’s economic competitor or prevent a terminated employee from receiving unemployment compensation.

WARN and Compensation in California.  The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) is a labor law in the United States that helps to protect terminated employees and their families from mass layoffs.

Specifically, an employer must provide 60 calendar days or more of advance notice to employees before mass terminations or disruption of plant operations, provided the employer employs more than 100 individuals.

In the state of California, if certain employers fail to give 60 calendar days of advanced notice, then California ex-employees may actually be legally entitled to receive severance payments for months after employment.

Summing Up California Severance.  In most cases severance is determined by how long the employer has been with the company and the employers financial ability to make severance payments.

An employer in California is usually not required to provide severance. Exceptions are mass layoffs protected under WARN and employment contracts that stipulate severance payments upfront.

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Employment

Why Would a Business Need an Employee Handbook?

why-would-a-business-need-an-employee-handbookDoes Your Business Need An Employee Handbook?

In today’s society, it is important to understand that any dispute can lead to potential litigation. Employers and employees are ending up in litigation procedures at an ever increasing rate, meaning it should be in the utmost of interest to employers that they protect themselves by using every resource and tool possible to their advantage.

A well-defined employee handbook is one of these resources that can aid an employer against any claims brought against them. An employee handbook is not just a company policy overview; it can be used as a tool to prevent litigation issues that may arise. This manual is your handwritten policy of procedures and it serves to give employees a better understanding of your company policies by:

• Giving employees a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities
• Providing consistent employment relationships
• Setting forth a philosophy on the employers part by maintaining a union free environment
• Giving your employees the comfort and peace of mind knowing that they are working in a professional environment

What Exactly Is An Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook is your written documentation which provides an overview and explanation of your company policies and procedures. This document is for both existing employees and new ones hired over time. They do not need to be long and over-explained, but they should contain certain information, such as:

• Equal employer opportunity statement
• At-will employment disclaimer
• Benefits information
• Anti-harassment policies

Your company’s employee handbook is a human resources tool that essentially sets all the standards that your employees must follow. Management can also refer to this guide when situations arise with employees who violate workplace policies and guidelines set forth in the manual. Management must be trained properly in the manuals contents so that they are able to deal with any situations that may come from workplace related issues.

Is Your Business Too Small To Have An Employee Handbook?

Some employers think that just because they only have a handful of employees, that they don’t need to institute an employee handbook. They think that simply telling everyone the rules will be enough. This could not be further from the truth. Without written documentation of expectations, you could put yourself in a situation where you have nothing to back up your enforcement rules. Many states require that an employer have a handbook in place if they even have only one employee. This is to protect the rights of an employer in the event a litigation battle comes about.

You can protect yourself legally when it comes to intellectual property, copyright issues and trademarks associated with your company. An employee handbook is not just a pamphlet on company rules, it is an invaluable tool used to protect everyone involved within the organization.

What Should You Put In Your Employee Handbook?

As mentioned above, there are a few key elements that you will want to make sure are included when you write your own handbook. A very well written and thought out manual will make sure you have all bases covered to protect yourself, while giving your employees a better understanding of what is expected of them. A poorly written and quickly thrown together manual, however, could have devastating consequences to you and your company should any case ever be brought to litigation. If you do not choose your words carefully, your handbook could be misconstrued, which could leave you vulnerable when trying to defend yourself against accusations. Arm yourself with the best resource of all and implement a well-crafted employee handbook.

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