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Taylor Janis’s Severance Review Process in Alberta
– Lethbridge –

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

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If you are terminated by an employer in Lethbridge, you may have rights to severance pay under Alberta’s Employment Standards as well as federal laws.

Wrongful dismissals and unlawful terminations without cause are quite common – and these often centre around the failure of an employer to provide reasonable notice or severance pay.

Speak with experienced local employment lawyers at Taylor Janis if you have been terminated in Lethbridge without adequate severance pay or need a severance package reviewed.

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).

WHAT IS SEVERANCE PAY IN LETHBRIDGE?

Severance Pay Lawyers in Lethbridge AlbertaWhen an employee is fired in Alberta, the government wants to ensure that the transition into new employment is made as smooth as possible and the economic hardship mitigated.

For this reason, the laws state that if an employer wants to terminate your employment, one of the following must be provided:

In the absence of severance pay or notice, you may have a case for wrongful dismissal. The laws apply to most (but not all) employees in Lethbridge.

Severance pay (sometimes called “termination pay”) is seen as compensation for losing your job. Accordingly, the amount you are entitled to will vary according to several factors, most notably your length of service with the company.

The maximum severance pay under the employment standards is eight weeks. However, under common law, you may be entitled to more according to your circumstances.

Severance pay is often referred to as a “severance package” because you may be entitled to compensation for more than just lost wages.  It can include:

  • Commissions/bonuses
  • Pensions/RRSP contributions
  • Medical/dental benefits
  • Vacation pay
  • Fringe benefits, such as gym memberships

The minimums that apply are also subject to circumstances under common law. That is why it is important not to agree to any severance package without having the details reviewed by an experienced local employment lawyer first.

Severance pay is usually paid as a lump sum but may also be paid over time as a deferred salary, depending on the agreement with your employer.

IS SEVERANCE PAY MANDATORY IN LETHBRIDGE?

Sometimes, an employer prefers to terminate an employee immediately rather than serving out a notice period (which may be lengthy and awkward).

In these cases, if the employer has no just cause for dismissal, a minimum amount of severance pay is mandatory provided the employee is covered under Alberta’s Employment Standards Code.

Who does NOT qualify for severance pay in Lethbridge?

With just cause, no severance pay is necessary – but remember that it is up to the employer to show just cause for a lawful dismissal.

Some employees are not covered by these regulations, such as construction site workers, seasonal workers, those employed for ninety days or less, union members and federally regulated employees.

No severance pay is required if you quit your position or retire – unless you feel you were forced to resign due to the employer’s conduct. This is known as constructive dismissal and you should discuss your case with an employment lawyer if you suspect this.

Before accepting a settlement from an employer or deciding whether to take legal action, check what the law entitles you 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 Alberta Employment Standards. This is a wrongful dismissal. In fact, you are entitled to additional severance pay under what is called the common law.

WHAT IS CONSIDERED FAIR SEVERANCE PAY IN LETHBRIDGE?

What you are entitled to in terms of a severance package is a little complicated. There are over 100 factors that may determine the amount of severance pay you are entitled to.

Minimum requirements under Alberta employment law apply, based on the length of service but other factors must also be considered.

The law states that you are entitled to a minimum notice period or severance pay in lieu of notice. The following amounts apply:

  • After service of 90 days to one year: one week’s wages as severance pay
  • One to two years’ service: two weeks’ wages as severance pay
  • Every subsequent year: an extra week’s severance pay up to a maximum of eight weeks

But are these amounts “fair”?

On many occasions, employees are entitled to more based not only on their length of service but also on other factors, such as:

  • The cause of termination
  • The manner in which you were dismissed
  • Your age
  • The nature of the position and level of seniority
  • Your industry
  • Current employment conditions
  • The likelihood of finding alternative employment
  • Employment insurance coverage

To be considered “fair”, your severance package should also include compensation for fringe benefits and incentive programs that you may have been entitled to during the notice period.

IS SEVERANCE PAY TAXABLE IN ALBERTA?

Generally speaking, severance packages are taxable. The amount you pay will depend on the amount of the package and how it is paid – in a lump sum or as a deferred salary.

You can expect to pay anywhere between five and 30 percent tax, depending on the severance amount.

Taxes are usually deducted automatically from a lump-sum package. Your employer has a legal obligation to withhold and pay taxes. However, with a deferred salary arrangement, taxes can be spread out over a period of time.

Taxes can also be deferred if your severance package is placed in an eligible retirement or pension fund.

It is generally best to seek advice from an accountant or qualified employment lawyer regarding your tax obligations with severance pay in Alberta. If you consider this matter upfront, the information they provide may help you reach an agreeable settlement with your employer.

Remember, any fees paid to a lawyer to obtain your severance package can be deducted from your taxes.

EXPERIENCING SEVERANCE PAY ISSUES IN LETHBRIDGE?

Did your Lethbridge employer terminate you without cause and fail to offer a reasonable severance package?

At Janis Taylor LLP, we can review your package, advise you on the severance pay you are entitled to, and provide advice on how to negotiate an acceptable package – or negotiate directly with your employer to maximize your package.

At Taylor Janis LLP, we have the skills, knowledge, and expertise to handle all of your employment & labour law needs.

To arrange a one-on-one consultation and document review with one of our employment lawyers, please contact us today at (403) 365-4303 in Lethbridge.

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 Alberta. More Information

If you live in Alberta and are not a member of a union, your employer must generally provide adequate notice or payment in lieu of notice (severance) to terminate you without cause. 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

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