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Can you renegotiate a severance package?

If you lose your job, you are likely entitled to unemployment benefits. If your company also offered you a severance package when you started work, this monetary compensation can help mitigate any financial burdens you may experience between jobs. In the state of California, you can renegotiate your severance package at any time during employment. The important thing to remember is how to renegotiate a package that best serves your current interests. 

Securing a reasonable severance

Severance packages come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are commonly influenced by the type of company you work for and your role, among other factors. The purpose of a severance package is to secure a safety net when you and your employer part ways. A reasonable severance allows you to continue a similar lifestyle for yourself and your loved ones until you find a new job. 

Reasons to renegotiate

While your initial package may have been suitable at the time, lifestyles and personal situations do change. A larger family means higher expenses. Ensuring continued health insurance coverage is also a high priority if a family member requires specialty care. Renegotiating a new package should consider these essential factors, so any financial burdens are minimized between employment. 

Prepare to negotiate

You don’t have to wait until you hear rumors of layoffs or a company’s possible reorganization. You have the right to renegotiate at any time, and you can use this right to your advantage. Some companies might offer greater benefits if you waive the right to sue, agree to non-disclosure of company secrets, or accept a non-competitor clause.

Here are some critical things to consider when negotiating:

Insurance coverage

Should you find yourself out of work, you should negotiate a continuance of your insurance benefits. Any monetary payout is greatly diminished if you’re left to pay for life, health, and disability coverage. Try to secure at least 18 months of coverage in your new agreements. 


Outplacement programs and services are available via many employers. Even if your employer has no formal program, see what they can do to help you find a new job outside of a letter of recommendation.


A severance package should minimize unemployment’s impact on your lifestyle. Perks play a valuable role in non-salary compensation. Try to keep your company car or club memberships until you find a new job that replaces those perks. 

Employers examine their severance packages carefully. So should you. You may be in a position to craft the perfect document before you start your job, but if that turns out not to be the case, you can always renegotiate.