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What You Need to Know About Severance Pay

If you have been let go from your job or have submitted your two-week notice, you probably have a lot on your mind. First, you’re either considering your employment options or preparing for your new role. Second, you may be considering whether you’re owed overtime pay or other forms of compensation from your employer. Third, you’re probably wondering about how severance pay works and when you will receive your final paycheck. 

In this editorial, a Tampa wage and hour attorney will discuss these topics and more. Specifically, we’ll explain the federal laws associated with severance pay and what employees are typically owed in their final paycheck. Remember, for any of your wage and hour concerns, including if you are owed unpaid overtime, our Tampa overtime lawyers are standing by.   

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Stance

Severance pay is usually offered to an employee upon termination of their employment. Generally, the amount of money the employee will be paid depends on the length of their remaining employment that they are eligible to be paid for. However, as stated on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer is not legally required to provide severance pay. In fact, severance pay is only required if it’s in the agreement between the employer and the employee. 

Common Questions Related to Severance Pay

Although federal law may not require severance pay, most employers will feature a clause in their employment contract that covers this issue. Moreover, many state legislatures have prevailing wage and hour laws for severance pay. As many wage and hour disputes are determined on a case-by-case basis, receiving your last paycheck can present a myriad of concerns. The good news is that our Tampa wage and hour attorneys are here to answer a few common questions related to your final paycheck.  

“I put in my two weeks. When will I be paid?” 

Whether you put in your two weeks or your employment was terminated, an employer typically has up to 30 days to provide you with your final paycheck. Although this rule can vary depending on the state you are working in, being compensated within 30 days of your last day of work is considered a “reasonable” amount of time to receive your final paycheck. 

“What about the compensation I acquired through my full-time benefits?”

Receiving accrued paid time off (PTO) and other benefits is a complicated issue that requires the attention of a wage and hour attorney. Although some states have specific laws related to this topic, determining whether or not you are owed additional pay often depends on the  agreement you had in place and the circumstances of your case.  

“What about unpaid overtime?”

Although PTO, sick time, and other paid benefits can be a gray area in regard to compensation, a nonexempt employee should always be paid for every single hour worked. This includes one-and-one-half times their regular hourly compensation for every hour worked over 40 in a workweek. If you tracked your time on the clock, and your former employer refuses to pay you overtime, consult a Tampa overtime lawyer

“Does my employer have to allow me to work my final two weeks?”

Just like most employees will honor their full-time commitment by working their final two weeks after giving notice, most employers will follow suit by allowing their employee to continue working in their position for the remaining two weeks. However, this really comes down to business needs. In Florida, employees are “at will,” meaning that their employer can terminate their employment at any time. Generally, whether or not an employee is paid for their final two weeks (if they aren’t working) comes down to their employee contract. But just because you gave your two-week notice doesn’t mean that the employer will elect to retain you for that period of time. 

“What should I do if my employer refuses to pay me my final paycheck?”

Always patiently wait for your final paycheck. If it’s been over 30 days, you should contact a Tampa wage and hour lawyer

A Few Final Tips

If you were either terminated from your position or you put in your two-week notice, here are a few final tips to be mindful of:

  • Be Prepared: Before you hand in your letter of resignation, make sure you perform your due diligence. Return any confidential information, make a copy of any timesheets, and review your contract and employee manual.  
  • Sign a Contract: It’s important to always have a formal agreement in place. Without a contract in place, your employer may elect to sever ties with you, considering there is no policy in place saying otherwise. 
  • Additional Compensation: Remember, in some cases a voluntary resignation can turn into an involuntary termination. If you are immediately terminated after handing in a two-week notice, you may be entitled to state unemployment compensation. 
  • Consult a Wage and Hour Attorney: Navigating your way through a wage and hour dispute can be complicated. When you reach out to an attorney with any questions related to receiving your final paycheck, they can review your contract and the details of your case. From here, they can determine the best course of action. 

If you would like to speak with our Tampa Wage and Hour attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.