As you get older, more experienced and advance in your job. You become a liability to your employer in some ways in this period of hard economic times. An employee who has been with an employer a significant length of time is likely to be on the higher end of the scale when it comes to benefits and salary earned. Employers often look to reducing their costs by retiring employees who are more expensive. This could be you.
It is important to know your rights especially as it regards health care benefits you may be getting from your employer. A reduction or change in health benefits could derail your estate plan if it causes a substantial increase in your medical or other healthcare costs. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act an employer must give you certain things if he is asking you to take an incentive package to retire early.
These waiver requirements are:
- Must be in writing and be understandable. This means written in plain language, no legalese.
- Must specifically refer to ADEA rights or claims. A general release will not met ADEA standards.
- May not waive rights or claims that may arise in the future.
- Must be in exchange for valuable consideration. If you were entitled to certain benefits anyway, and did not receive anything additional in return for signing a waiver, it is not valid under the ADEA.
- Must advise you in writing to consult an attorney before signing the waiver. While you do not have to consult with an attorney, and may choose not to, you must have been advised in writing to consult an attorney.
- Must provide you with at least 21 days to consider the agreement and at least 7 days to revoke the agreement after signing it.
Consider the ramifications of accepting an early retirement package carefully and take the time to consult a lawyer before signing any that affects your future income or insurance benefits.