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Taylor Janis’s Severance Review Process in British Columbia
– Kamloops –
Step 1: One-on-one confidential consultation and strategy session* Step 2: In-Depth Consultation and document review Step 3: Strategic negotiation tailored to your unique circumstances Step 4: Close the chapter and move on with dignity and financial security.
*Your employment must have been terminated to qualify for a one-on-one confidential consultation and strategy session
As an employee in BC, you have few rights other than those stipulated in the BC Employment Standards Act, unless you have negotiated special terms.
The laws do, however, protect you from wrongful dismissal.
In BC, if an employer wants to terminate your employment, they have two choices:
Termination without cause – if there is no reason to terminate you, the employer must provide suitable written notice or payment in lieu of notice (severance pay).
Termination with cause – if there is a justifiable reason for firing you, no written notice or severance pay is necessary.
Because many employers and employees have a poor understanding of the laws on severance pay, mistakes are frequently made.
At Taylor Janis, our experienced employment lawyers may be able to assist if you have been wrongfully terminated from your job or if you need to negotiate a severance package.
WHAT IS SEVERANCE PAY IN KAMLOOPS, BC?
The severance pay rules exist to provide compensation for employees who lose their job. It is essentially a way to “soften the blow” of losing one’s employment and to lessen the likelihood of it causing you financial hardship.
If an employer in BC offers you severance pay (sometimes also called a “severance package”) and you accept it, no written notice of termination is required. You can be terminated immediately.
If, however, reasonable written notice is provided, according to your length of service with the company, then no severance pay is required.
HOW IS SEVERANCE PAID?
Severance pay is usually a single lump-sum payment that covers your salary for a certain number of weeks.
Fringe benefits, such as allowances for vehicles, cellphones, gym memberships, etc.
Example: Today you were notified by your employer that your employment is being terminated, effective immediately. Instead of giving you reasonable notice, your employer has opted to pay you 3 months salary (severance pay).
If you have been offered a severance package or are about to negotiate with your employer about leaving your employment, you probably want to know how much you are entitled to.
Example: Your employment is terminated after 2.5 years of service. Your employer has offered to give you 2 weeks’ of your regular salary as is required under British Columbia Employment Standards. This is a wrongful dismissal. In fact, you are entitled to additional severance pay under what is called the common law.
HOW MUCH SEVERANCE PAY ARE YOU ENTITLED TO IN BC?
Both provincial and federal guidelines exist for calculating severance pay in the absence of reasonable notice being provided.
You must have been in continuous employment with your employer for at least three months to qualify for severance pay.
Other general guidelines are as follows:
After three months’ service: one full week’s severance pay
After twelve consecutive months of service: two full weeks’ severance pay
After three consecutive years of service: three full weeks’ severance pay
After each additional year of service: one week’s severance pay per year
Note that one week’s full pay is calculated by totalling your wages over an eight-week period (minus overtime hours worked) and dividing by eight.
According to the above guidelines, it is reasonable to expect a minimum of 10 weeks’ full pay as severance if you are terminated after 10 years of service without reasonable notice.
More examples are detailed below.
EXAMPLES OF LAWFUL AND NON-LAWFUL SEVERANCE IN KAMLOOPS
Sam has been with the company for five years. He is notified by his employer that his employment is being terminated, effective immediately.
Instead of providing reasonable notice, the employer paid Sam three months’ salary as severance pay.
This is generally considered a reasonable payout, well above the minimum requirement stated in the Employment Standards Act and so there would be no claim for wrongful dismissal.
Sam is offered two weeks’ severance pay as compensation for immediate termination.
This is wrongful dismissal as it does not meet the minimum requirements under the Employment Standards Act.
Sam is offered five weeks’ severance pay as compensation for immediate termination.
Although this meets the minimum requirement under the Employment Standards Act, he may be entitled to more under the common law so he could still claim wrongful dismissal and seek damages.
These complications mean that it’s always best to speak to an employment lawyer before simply accepting a severance package from your employer.
WHEN IS SEVERANCE PAY MANDATORY IN BC?
Severance pay is mandatory in BC if a reasonable notice period is not provided in writing by an employer.
However, there are other qualifying factors you must meet for receiving severance pay in BC.
You must have:
Completed a minimum of three months of continuous employment with the employer
Been terminated without just cause
Been terminated against your will
You are not entitled to severance pay if you:
Quit or retire (i.e. leave on your own terms) – unless you provide written notice and your employer terminates you before the intended departure date
Work on an on-call or limited-term contractual basis
Offered an alternative position or employment
Are terminated due to circumstances out of the employer’s control (such as bankruptcy)
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS JUST CAUSE?
If your employer claims that there is just cause to terminate you, no severance pay needs to be provided.
A good example would be if you were caught stealing company property. This would be a serious breach of your employment contract and the employer could fire you on the spot with no notice or severance pay.
However, if your employer abuses the “just cause” guidelines and wrongly accuses you of breaching your employment terms before firing you, you may have grounds for a wrongful dismissal claim.
SPEAK WITH OUR BC SEVERANCE PAY EXPERTS TODAY
Why settle for the minimum requirements with severance pay when you may be entitled to negotiate more generous terms?
Speak to the experienced employment lawyers at Taylor Janis in Kamloops first to ensure that you receive what you are due.
We may be able to negotiate with your employer to provide an improved package or if you have been wrongfully dismissed, help you claim damages.
We can advise you of your options during a confidential 30-minute telephone or video consultation.
If your employment is terminated against your will and through no fault of your own (i.e. there is no termination with just cause) and you do not receive adequate notice from your employer, you are entitled to severance pay in BC. More Information
Reasonable Notice is a legal term that refers to how much notice or time an employer must give you, the employee, of the date your job will be terminated. In some cases, employers may choose to pay out a severance package in lieu of reasonable notice. More Information