So this is kind of funny, but also kind of not funny if you have to actually use it. Basically, if you get fired, and you want to know how much your boss should pay you off, you’re in luck.
Today, Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, a Toronto-based law firm that specializes in labour and employment law, released The Severance Calculator, a new free iPhone / iPad app that aims to provide assessments of severance entitlements quickly and accurately. (And yes, I too think this is an app designed specifically for Saul Goodman of Breaking Bad)
If you’ve ever been laid-off (or had to lay somebody off) the question of how much severance is owed can be difficult to answer without legal advice, said the law firm in a release. If adequate severance is not received, it often results in significant financial hardship for the terminated employee, which can then lead to messy court battles, more money troubles for former employees and a “legal nightmare for businesses”.
The new Severance Calculator app aims to answer severance questions clearly and quickly and calculate a severance amount that employees and employers can work with.
“Many employers and the majority of terminated employees have a very limited understanding of the way severance is calculated and how much should be paid. This means that most employees that lose their job accept grossly inadequate severance without even realizing it,” said Lior Samfiru, partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP. “People who have recently lost their job often don’t know that they should do their due diligence and consult a lawyer, even if they do, when faced with employment uncertainty, legal advice just isn’t in the budget.”
The new app only asks users a few simple questions about their employment, like age, position and years worked. The app also has an employer mode that allows business owners and managers to calculate a fair severance package thus reducing the possibility of a lawsuit from unhappy ex-employees.
“Lawyers generally charge a fee to assess a person’s severance entitlements. The Severance Calculator app provides this service for free, understanding that many cannot afford the price of a meeting with a lawyer,” said Samfiru. “We hope that the app can serve to inform both employees and employers as to their legal rights and obligations and will help to eliminate lengthy and expensive severance disputes.”
The law firm is right when it said the app is launching at time when there is “nothing else in the app universe to help terminated employees figure out the amount severance they may be entitled.” It was conceived after Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, filed lawsuits against the Ontario Ministry of Labour on behalf two terminated employees that received poor free advice from a Ministry of Labour helpline.
Acting on incorrect free advice from the ministry, both plaintiffs unwittingly accepted the legal minimum of eight weeks severance for 22 and 15 years of continuous service, when in fact their full legal entitlement was 24 months severance. Had either of these employees, or countless thousands of others had access to the new app, it would have given them an accurate picture of the severance they were entitled to.
The new app is available on iTunes and an Android version will be available in coming weeks.