Severance offers usually come with deadline to sign. If you feel you won’t be able to respond to the offer within the deadline, you can ask the employer for an extension and usually it will be allowed.
It’s important to remember that deadlines are most often used as a tool to put pressure on the other party. We encourage people not to take steps that they don’t understand or don’t seem fair simply because they feel pressured by a deadline.
Ultimately, a deadline on a settlement offer only matters if you would want to accept the offer. If you make a counteroffer, that will automatically take the employer’s prior offer off the table anyway.
However, if you intend to accept an offer but you don’t do so within the deadline, the employer could take the position that the offer is no longer available and come back with a less favourable proposal. That would be uncommon, but it is possible. Refusing to honour an expired offer is particularly likely if, since making the offer, the employer learns that the employee has mitigated his/her losses or a justification for termination with cause emerges after the dismissal.