Does your contract have terms regarding extending or renewing it? If you are being given work to complete that requires work beyond the contract term, you should at least ask for an extended term to cover that work. Without a contract, you would be an employee at will in NYS, and it is clear that you understand the ramification of that in your current work situation. We cannot give guidance as to severance; that is subject to your company's written policy so look there.
It will partly depend upon the language in the contract. If it contains a provision stating what happens after the term expires, you will be covered under what that says. If not, in New York, you will become an employee at will.
This answer does not constitute legal advice and you should contact an attorney to confirm or research further any statements made in this answer. Any statements of fact or law I have made in this answer pertain solely to New York State and should not be relied upon in any way in any other jurisdiction. Additionally, we also encourage you to reach out to us via Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/employattorney) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/WhiteRicottaandMarks) if you have follow up questions as we do not monitor questions after providing an initial answer.
If your contract is going to expire on November 1, 2013, this is the time to schedule a consultation with an experienced employment lawyer, to determine – based on what your goals are—whether it makes sense to propose an amendment to the contract, or an extension of the contract—perhaps with terms about severance that are protective of you.
Please don’t delay getting legal advice, since time is running out.
-Denise K. Bonnaig