As Layoffs Mount, Severance Packages More Negotiable

The recession is leading to more layoffs and leaner severance packages. But more employees are now negotiating the terms of their exit

Reza Estakhrian / Getty

A man negotiates his severance package

As the economic slump persists, companies are becoming stingier with the severance packages they offer laid-off workers. At the same time, more employees are asking their firms to tweak the terms of their parting pay — a shot to get more as they head for the door. "The packages are smaller than they have been, and that makes the need to negotiate more critical," says employment lawyer Robin Bond, "especially since you don't know how long it's going to be until your next job."

The landscape of severance negotiation...

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