Severance Agreements and Collecting Unemployment Benefits

Severance agreements can affect collecting unemployment benefits.  Severance Agreements are usually written with the employer in mind.  While the agreement may give some weeks or even months of severance pay to the employee, the exchange may or may not be fair.  If the agreement hasn’t been negotiated, there is a good chance that it has been written by the company’s attorney to protect just the company’s interests.  In other words, it isn’t mutual.

An employee may think the company will not “contest” or fight the unemployment benefits.   Often a manager will say the company won’t fight unemployment.  More than one employee in Massachusetts has been surprised when the company later contested unemployment.  The severance agreement needs to be clear on this point.  It isn’t enough that a manager has agreed not to contest in terms of collecting unemployment benefits.

Employees may be denied unemployment benefits if they voluntarily resign their employment.  Many agreements actually say that the employee resigned.  Employees may also be denied unemployment benefits for misconduct.  The agreement needs to be worded in a way to protect the employee’s unemployment benefits.

Severance agreements can be drafted to help protect the employee’s unemployment benefits.  For a discussion about whether you can have severance and collect at the same time, see this post.

If you have questions about your agreement, call Boston  employment  lawyer, Maura Greene, Law Office of Maura Greene, Six Beacon St., Suite 205, Boston, MA 02108 at 617-936-1580.  In 2012 Maura Greene was named in the Boston Globe as one of Boston’s top rated Labor and Employment attorneys.  She has been named a Superlawyer in the area of employment.