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As a hiring manager myself I have not run across this situation, but now I am curious. I'm going to get together with our HR folks and ask them what would happen if a candidate made such a demand. I don't work for a huge company, but with a couple thousand U.S. employees we are not tiny either. I am interested in what I hear back. I would certainly never have negotiated this myself while looking for a job so it will be educational either way. Thanks for giving me something to think about!



I’m surprised to hear that it’s not that common for your firm. Negotiating severance is common enough that e.g. when I talk to third party recruiting firms for hiring for my team, it’s one of the first questions they ask.

Large firms usually have a very low baseline severance plan calculated something like 1 week of pay for each year of tenure, and they may say in the handbook it is only offered on a discretionary basis at the time of termination.

But I’ve always had no problem negotiating a customized severance package regardless of whether a firm had that sort of policy, especially because severance should fairly reflect compensation for any time or opportunity costs an employee might endure due to a non-compete agreement, etc., which means usually it should be at least several months of salary and possibly continuation of benefits (e.g. not externalizing that cost to the employee through COBRA but actually continuing to pay their premiums for a set amount of months).

Huge companies are harder to convince of this, and in that case I was able to negotiate the severance amount to instead be paid as a sign-on bonus, so that saving the money to cover costs in the event of being terminated was my responsibility, but the company still agreed to pay for it.




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