Should employers have special severance considerations for older workers?
Age is one of the most important considerations in setting a fair severance package. For example, if two employees occupy the same position and both work for the same period of time, the older worker should receive more severance based on the assumption he or she will have a more difficult time securing other work. This assumption may not always be realistic but generally courts will quickly agree to it. The specific amount of severance will always be based on the individual's circumstances but employees who are over 50 and especially those that are over 60 sometimes receive far greater severance than their equally situated but younger counterparts.
How does severance affect my employment insurance entitlements? I was terminated without cause and received six months' severance. When can I begin collecting EI?
Employment Insurance benefits are paid by the federal government to employees who lose their jobs through no fault of their own and are able to work but cannot find another job. Both employers and employees must report any severance payments to the government and these payments are taken into account when determining when your insurance benefit payments start. Once the severance period expires (in your case, six months), and assuming you are still unemployed, you can begin receiving insurance benefits. The benefits will last for 14 to 45 weeks, depending on how many hours you worked during the last 52-week period before your termination.
Daniel A. Lublin is a partner at Whitten & Lublin, representing both employers and employees in workplace legal disputes.
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