Unfortunately, during your working life, you may find yourself in a difficult situation with your employer, whether that be in light of a redundancy, disciplinary procedures, you wanting to terminate your own employment or any other reason. In these circumstances, you are likely to be concerned about your financial security. It is likely that while your outgoings will remain the same, you may not have any prospects of immediate employment elsewhere. For this reason, it is important to explore the area of Settlement Agreements if one is offered by your employer.
A Settlement Agreement can be beneficial for the following reasons:-
- It is likely that you will receive a lump sum which will enable you to have money to tide you over until you find yourself new employment.
- Agreeing a positive reference which may otherwise be unattainable.
- You may be able to negotiate a blemish free record despite any disciplinary investigations that may be going on.
- A Settlement Agreement will enable you to avoid a tribunal and all the associated legal costs.
- Your former employer may contribute towards the cost of the Settlement Agreement.
- A Settlement Agreement is legally binding for both employer and employee. Therefore, you are able to draw a line under matters without the worry of any future claims being brought against you.
While Settlement Agreements are usually proposed by the employer, you as an employee are also able to make the suggestion if the circumstances are appropriate. Prior to making this proposal, we will be able to look through your various employment documents including your contract, and advise on whether your employer has breached your rights in any way. Identifying a breach may provide us with a point of negotiation when approaching your employer to propose a Settlement Agreement.
Once it has been decided that a Settlement Agreement is mutually beneficial to both yourself and your employer, your employer will generally draft the Agreement. Upon receiving the Agreement, whether you have previously obtained legal advice or not, it is a good idea to now involve a solicitor as they will be able to advise on the terms of the Agreement and negotiate with your employer to ensure the best Settlement for you is reached. A solicitor is also required to sign an Advisor’s Certificate confirming you have received independent legal advice on the Agreement prior to signing it.
With Settlement Agreements, we are able to work to timescales set by yourself and your employer, and can often look over and finalise the draft Agreement provided by your employer within a matter of days. If further negotiations are entered in to, this may take slightly longer, however, it is important to do this in order to achieve the best Settlement for you, as this will enable you to conclude matters with your former employer and move on to the next chapter of your life in the best possible position.
If you would like any advice regarding Settlement Agreements or employment matters more generally, please contact our offices and one of our solicitors will be happy to assist you.