I'm very sorry to hear of your situation.
Under CA law, times which demand that employee receive their wages under the law do not apply to severance packages. Severance packages may be continued to be negotiated, or processed, after the employee has already ceased active employment, and there is no violation of law.
Additionally, if you were laid off---there was no 72 hour period which applied to you. In CA, In California, termination pay including all wages, vacation pay and PTO earned prior to the termination, must be remitted to the employee immediately upon separation of employment. An exception arises if the employee resigns without at least 72 hours advanced notice---but you do not state that to be the case---and in that situation the law requires that you must be paid within a 72 hour period from notice of your termination/layoff.
As for the COBRA benefits, it is highly unusual for an employee to immediately be notified of their COBRA rights. The notification is typically processed by the Insurance Administrator for the business and the notification can take 2 to 4 weeks---the employer actually has 30 days to provide this notification to you, under the law. That does not mean that you are not covered. You will have 60 days from the date of the qualification letter you receive from the plan Administrator to formally, and in writing, accept the COBRA benefits, and pay for them to that date. Doing so will make the benefits retroactive and there will be no lapse in your health coverage.
Here is an excellent Q/A list offered by the federal government as regards XXXXX XXXXX benefits:
You may reply back to me using the Continue the Conversation or Reply to Expert
link if you have additional questions; and if you do, I ask that you please keep in mind that I do not know what you may already know or with what you need help, unless you tell me.
Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided
. Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation, and I trust you agree that it would be unfair for me to be punished by a (negative rating) ----the first 2 stars/faces----for having been honest with you about the law.
I wish you the best in 2012,