Thursday, January 24, 2013


A discussion was had as to whether, in a severance agreement, an employee can waive his/her right to claim unemployment insurance.

Having never seen this issue before, I discovered that the Labor Law has a clear statement on this:

"Sec. 595. Benefit right inalienable.

1. Waiver agreement void. No agreement by an employee to waive his rights under this article shall be valid.
2. Assignment of benefits void. Benefits shall not be assigned, pledged, encumbered, released, or commuted and shall be exempt from all claims of creditors and from levy, execution, and attachment, or other remedy for recovery or collection of a debt. This exemption may not be waived."

However, a severance agreement can raise other issues as the Appeal Board noted:

"Voluntarily separating from employment to accept a severance package when continuing work is available does not constitute good cause for leaving employment (See, e.g., Matter of Cammisa, 38 A.D.3d1146 [3d Dept. 2007]; Matter of Campolattano, 687 A.D.2d 711 [3d Dept. 1999]; Matter of Standford, 54 A.D.3d 1095 [3d Dept. 2008]). "

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