Toronto firm launches Severance Calculator app

A Toronto law firm is aiming to give dismissed employees a quick peek at their potential severance entitlement through a new iPhone application it’s billing as the first of its kind in Canada.

The Severance Calculator, from Toronto law firm Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, aims to help both employers and employees. Companies will be able to get a quick idea of how much they might have to pay a laid-off worker. Employees can use it find out how much they might get as severance payment after answering a few questions such as age, position, and years worked.

The firm says the Severance Calculator is suitable for use across Canada.

“There’s no service like this,” says Lior Samfiru, a co-founding member of Samfiru Tumarkin.

Samfiru notes that in his practice, about 80 per cent of the employees he sees come to him with offers of sub-par severance packages.

“People end up accepting completely inadequate severance packages,” he says, adding the calculator should help clear some of the misunderstandings about severance entitlements.

The calculator doesn’t cover all situations, however, which is why many people would seek legal advice after using it. For example, it outlines people’s potential entitlements under common law, but a term in the employment contract stipulating that the statutory minimums will apply can affect what they’ll ultimately receive.

“It certainly cannot do what a lawyer will do,” says Samfiru, noting the calculator is clear that there may be other factors that will affect entitlement.

Asked whether the idea is that employees can now walk into their employer’s office with their iPhones after using the calculator to demand a better package, Samfiru says the main focus is to “start a conversation” given the widespread misunderstandings of employment law.

“I think it does start a discussion between employer and employee,” he says.

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