Your company has offered you a 'buyout,' should you take it? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Your company has offered you a 'buyout,' should you take it?

SPOKANE, Wash. - From Ford to United, Microsoft to eBay, companies in every industry have laid off thousands of workers.

In these uncertain times, what should you do if your employer offers you a buyout package?

Sharon Vinick and Leslie Levy are employment attorneys who specialize in helping people navigate the workplace.

Vinick says the first question you should ask if offered a package:

"If you're going to stay, what's the likelihood your job will remain or your job class will be eliminated entirely?"

She warns that if your job looks like it's on the outs, waiting increases the risk you'll be laid off anyway, possibly with nothing.

Still, there are options.

"There may be some ability to negotiate some of the terms of the severance agreement," said Levy.

What's negotiable?

Health benefits for you and your family.

Your employer may be willing to pay for some coverage after you leave, staggering payments to limit the tax hit.

Vacation and sick leave should also be discussed. You should also find out if you can be re-hired later. It's also important to find out how your termination is classified.

"Reduction in force means you are entitled to unemployment benefits," noted Vinick.

They also advise you talk to your colleagues and compare the fine print. It's legal and in your best interest. If your package is complicated, consider investing $2,500 and getting professional advice. Your informed decision could make all the difference in this economy.

The experts say ask your questions in writing and keep hard copies of the responses.    

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