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4 Rights You Should Be Aware of If You’ve Lost Your Job

Credit Brad Neathery / Unsplash

by Contributing Author

Most employees who work in the private sector are at the mercy of the employer regarding job security. Anyone is at risk of losing their job for any reason, such as workplace disputes or even just failing to sign a non-compete agreement NC.

Some employers give their workers’ notice of job loss, depending on the situation, while others do it unexpectedly and swiftly. It doesn’t matter how you’ve lost your job, however; it is still a tough time to go through.

To allow yourself the best chance after job loss, make sure you understand the following are rights.

1. Final Paycheck

When newly terminated from work, you will worry about money. Your employer should give you a final paycheck within the required time. You may receive the paycheck on the day you lose your job, a few days later, or on the regular payday.

You may also be entitled to your accrued vacation time in the final paycheck (but not sick time).

2. Severance Pay

Usually, not all employees guarantee to receive severance pay after a layoff. But, there are some exceptions:

• Severance pay is included in your employment contract. Most workers work ‘at will’, which means there is no guarantee of employment for a specific period. However, the employer may provide an employment contract with particular employees. The contracts may state that the employee will receive severance pay if they are laid off.

• Mass layoff severance. A few states require employers to provide a little severance if they implement mass layoff or close their plant.

• Employer practices or policies of severance pay. You may be entitled to severance pay if your employer practices the policy of paying severance to employees laid off or losing their jobs out of no fault on their part. If your employer singles you out and fails to pay your severance, a court of law may interpret regular severance payment history as a contract. Talk to an employment lawyer if you feel that you rightly deserve severance pay from your former employer.

3. Health Benefits

If your employer has provided health insurance coverage, you may be entitled to the same for at least 18 months after losing your job. This is according to a law known as COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), which provides employees and their dependents the opportunity to extend their health insurance coverage after being laid off.

But, you will be responsible for the premium cost, in full, at the rate negotiated by your former employer. The COBRA law applies to establishments with 20 employees and above.

4. Unemployment Insurance

These benefits provide income to employees temporarily unemployed or had their work hours significantly reduced. To qualify for unemployment insurance, the reason for losing the job should not be your fault.

Usually, you are eligible for the benefits if you lost your job because there was no work, were fired, or resigned. You must meet certain conditions to obtain unemployment insurance, among them being that you are actively looking for another job.

If you think that you have not been treated according to company policy or the law after being laid off, get assistance from an employment lawyer. You may also seek assistance from your state labor department.

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