If your organization has offered little or no severance pay, now's a good time to beef up that benefit.
Reason: Choppy economic conditions the past few years saw many employees ousted without any severance. As the economy improves and hiring revives, those skittish employees will look for safer waters, and they'll ask about your severance packages.
Most employers typically use a year-of-service formula to calculate severance. Other companies pay severance on a case-by-case basis. The danger: A case-by-case system could open you to discrimination claims.
In a severance agreement, employees typically give up their right to sue your company in exchange for something of value, usually extra pay. To be legal, the pact must be in writing and signed by both parties. For more advice on severance pacts, and to obtain sample severance agreements that you can adapt for your organization, visit: