Severance pay is pay that your employer voluntarily gives you when the employment relationship ends. In Washington State, your employer is not required to pay you severance since these benefits are considered voluntary. Additionally, vacation, holiday, and sick pay are voluntary benefits that your employer is not required to pay you upon termination. Although your employer is not required to pay you these benefits, if your employer promises to pay you these benefits and does not, you have a right to those promised benefits and may seek legal counsel to enforce that right.

You may wonder how severance pay affects your eligibility for unemployment benefits. In Washington State, you can collect both severance pay and unemployment benefits at the same time. You must report your severance pay to Washington’s Employment Security Department on your weekly benefits certification.

If you have any questions concerning severance pay or any other voluntary benefit, or if you would like someone to review your severance agreement, please contact us to speak with an experienced employment attorney.