When to Expect Final Paychecks, Severance Pay, and Other Benefits After a Layoff in California

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Denis ZilberbergDecember 29, 2018Wrongful Termination

If you have lost your job in a layoff or plant closing, you are most likely worried about not receiving your final paycheck, severance pay, and other benefits. On top of that, the thought of having to find a new job is probably so overwhelming that you want to drop everything and catch a flight to some Caribbean island.

But do not pack your things to go to that Caribbean island just yet. It’s time to learn about your legal rights in a layoff because you wouldn’t want to be left without your final paycheck and other benefits, would you?

When should you expect your final paycheck after a layoff?

“So when should I expect my final paycheck after a layoff?” you may wonder. Our Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers from The Kaufman Law Firm say that in California, employees who are fired should receive their final paycheck immediately. On the other hand, if an employee quits voluntarily, he or she must receive his/her final paycheck within 72 hours, or immediately if the employee has given at least 72 hours’ notice.

Like many other states, California requires employers to include a laid-off employee’s accrued vacation time – but not sick time – in his or her final paycheck after a layoff or plant closing.

Are you entitled to receive severance pay after a layoff?

Normally, California employers are not legally required to provide their laid-off employees with severance pay. Nonetheless, employers in California are required to pay out severance packages when they have contractually agreed or promised to do so.

Our experienced wrongful termination attorney in Los Angeles explains that you are only entitled to receive severance pay if there is a written contract promising severance in the event of a layoff, firing, or leaving work voluntarily. However, there are exceptions to this general rule.

Even when your employer has not promised to pay severance in a written contract, you may still be entitled to receive severance if:

  • Your employer promised severance pay in an employee handbook
  • There is an established practice of paying severance to employees or
  • Your employer has paid out severance to every other employee laid off in the past

Can you continue receiving health benefits after the layoff?

Just because you were laid off does not necessarily mean that you will automatically stop receiving health insurance coverage through your employer. Under California law, you have a legal right to continue receiving health insurance benefits for at least 18 months after the layoff.

The same rule applies to employees’ dependents under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), a federal law enabling employees’ dependents to continue receiving health insurance benefits for a certain period of time after the employee was laid off or lost his or her job.

However, after their layoff, employees are fully responsible for paying the full cost of the health insurance premium at the rate that was negotiated by their now-former employer. These rules under the COBRA apply to employers with at least 20 employees, but many states have similar laws that allow laid-off employees to continue receiving health benefits after the loss of their job.

“If you work at a company with 100 or more employees, do keep in mind that you should have received notice 60 days before the mass layoff or impending plant closing,” reminds our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney. This is the key requirement of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).

If you have been laid off or lost your job due to a plant closing but have not received severance pay or your final paycheck or there was an unreasonable and unjustified delay speak to our lawyers from The Kaufman Law Firm. Get a consultation by calling our offices at 310-981-3404.



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