In practice, depending on the circumstances, it is between one and four weeks, says Jeffrey M. Landes, a labor and employment lawyer with the New York firm Epstein Becker & Green. You don`t have to accept the first terms offered by your former employer in a singing agreement. When negotiating, remember that a severance pay agreement is a legally enforceable agreement between you and your employer. You can trade before or out. Once the agreement is signed, you give up any chance of suing the employer in the future. Always use a lawyer to make sure you know what you`re getting. A lawyer may have a very different opinion about the deal, your claims, and your leverage during negotiations. .