What to do if you lose your job

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Useful information for those that have lost jobs.

Text of What to do if you lose your job

  • 1. Life Guide What to Do If You Lose Your JobIn todays world, no one is immune from the sudden loss of a job. Whether youvejust lost your job or are concerned about the possibility of a job loss, the purposeof this guide is to provide you with practical information you can use to helpprotect your financial security and better adapt to your new situation. Table of Contents Page Take Stock of Your Situation 2Provided by: Negotiate Your Severance Package 3Bill HurlbutHurlbut Insurance Services File for Unemployment Benefits 41933 Schumac Ln. Evaluate Your Financial Situation 5Bedford, TX 76022Office: (817) 803-4498 Secure Health Insurance Coverage 6bill@hurlbutinsurance.com Take Personal Inventory 7 Develop a Job Search Action Plan 8 Monthly Budget Organizer 9 - 10 Disclosure Information 11LG-13 What to Do If You Lose Your Job
  • 2. Take Stock of Your Situation Be prepared for the worst. If youre employed, these tips can help secure your financial future, whether or not unemployment strikes:Pay off high-interest consumer debt and avoid future consumer debt.Create an emergency fund equal to at least three to six months of your expenses.Consistently upgrade your skills, making yourself more valuable to current and possibly future employers. If unemployment becomes a reality, you may feel shock, fear and even anger. All are understandable emotions in the face of job loss, but its important not to panic. Quickly make an assessment of your situation and decide what steps you will take to keep your lifestyle as stable as possible during your period of unemployment:Negotiate Your Severance Package: The best time to negotiate a severance agreement is when you are negotiating your initial employment terms. Commonly known as a "golden parachute," its generally considered more advantageous to negotiate severance terms when a company is negotiating to secure your services. If you do not have a severance package in place, request information on your companys severance benefits before meeting with your boss and/or a human resources person to negotiate a severance package. Review employee benefits booklets to gain a better understanding of what you may be entitled to receive in the event of job termination.File for Unemployment Benefits: It takes time to process a claim for unemployment benefits so apply as soon as possible. Remember that if you are terminated for cause or if you resign, you generally are not eligible to collect unemployment benefits.Evaluate Your Financial Situation: Do you have an emergency fund available? What other liquid assets are available, including investments, retirement plans and personal or household items that could be sold? Take a close look at your monthly expenses, reducing or eliminating discretionary spending to the greatest degree possible. Compare your monthly financial obligations to the severance/unemployment benefits and savings you have available. Are there any temporary, part-time or freelance jobs available that could produce some income while youre seeking new employment?Secure Health Insurance Coverage: Determine if and how you will be able to continue your health insurance coverage.Take Personal Inventory: Spend some time thinking about your current experience and skills. Do you want to continue in your same field or is there some other line of work you can pursue?Develop an Action Plan: What actions are you going to take to find a new job?What to Do If You Lose Your Job 2
  • 3. Negotiate Your Severance Package Most companies of any size will have a stated severance plan available for review in their employee handbook and/or employee intranet. A severance package is a contract between a terminated employee and his/her employer. In return for agreeing not to sue the employer for wrongful termination or other related legal claims, the employee receives additional compensation, commonly referred to as a severance package. In legal terms, that additional compensation is known as "consideration." Its important to understand that without consideration, a terminated employees release of liability is not valid. In other words, without consideration a terminated employee retains the right to sue the employer for wrongful termination or any other legal claims he/she may have. As a result, many companies feel it is in their best interest to provide severance benefits and receive a signed release in return. A typical severance package provides a specified number of weeks of severance pay based on factors such as years of service and/or position in the company. In addition, a federal law called COBRA requires that group health plans of companies with 20 or more employees allow a terminated employee to continue that coverage for 18 months. This means that while you can buy your health insurance at group rates, the premiums come out of your pocket. Before meeting with your boss and/or a human resources person to discuss severance, make sure you understand the companys severance policy. In addition to negotiating for additional severance payment periods, you may also be in a position to negotiate for additional benefits, such as: Continuation of Health Insurance: You may be able to bargain for a continuation of employer-paid health insurance for a period of time. Unused Vacation: Know how many unused vacation days youve accrued and ask for the dollar value of that unused vacation to be included in your severance package. Assistance in Finding a New Job: At a minimum, ask who is to be contacted to provide references and what will be said. Consider asking for a positive reference letter. You may also be able to negotiate for job search assistance, such as outplacement and job counseling services. Stock Options: If you have company stock options, you typically have 90 days after leaving the company to exercise them or youll lose the stock options. You may be able to negotiate an extension of that period, such as to a year. Bridge to Retirement: If youre anywhere near retirement (lets say age 50 or older) and your company has a pension plan, get an understanding of pension eligibility before your severance meeting. It cant hurt to ask about the possibility of being allowed to start your pension now. Severance Agreement: Dont sign a severance agreement until youve had an opportunity to carefully review it to confirm that it includes all of the agreed-upon severance benefits. In addition, some severance agreements contain a non-compete clause, where you agree not to go to work for a competitor for a certain period of time. If a non-compete clause is present and you object to it, ask that it be removed.What to Do If You Lose Your Job 3
  • 4. File for Unemployment Benefits Unemployment benefits are payable for a specific period of time or until the terminated employee finds a new job. Regardless of how long you expect to be out of work, file for unemployment benefits as soon as possible, keeping in mind that you generally cannot collect unemployment benefits if youre terminated for cause or if you resign. Be sure to keep this in mind if youre asked to officially "resign" as part of your severance package! While unemployment benefits are provided through state unemployment insurance programs paid for by employers, they have to follow guidelines established by Federal law. Nevertheless, eligibility for unemployment insurance, benefit amounts and the length of time benefits are available are determined by state law. Contact your state or local unemployment office to determine how to open a claim and the information you must provide, which may include: Your final paycheck stub, the last date you worked and the reason for termination Your Social Security number or card Alien registration card, if youre not a U.S. citizen Possibly another form of identification, such as a drivers license Your contact information (mailing address, telephone number) Recent employment history As mentioned earlier, the state where you reside determines the benefit amounts and the length of time for which you are eligible to receive benefits. Typical unemployment benefits: Are paid for a maximum of 26 weeks; Are equal to a percentage of your earnings, up to a stated maximum; and Are subject to Federal income tax. During periods of high unemployment, extended unemployment benefits may be made available. Check with your local or state unemployment office to see if you qualify for extended or increased benefits.What to Do If You Lose Your Job 4
  • 5. Evaluate Your Financial Situation With job loss comes a loss of income. The following suggestions are designed to help you keep your lifestyle as secure as possible while you seek new employment