What is a Settlement Agreement?
Our experienced settlement agreement Solicitors can provide advice on settlement agreements by telephone or email and your employer will pay your legal costs.
You might have faced disciplinary proceedings or a performance review and reached a mutual agreement to bring your employment to an end as a result.
Similarly, you might have decided to end your employment following the outcome of a grievance procedure, or you may be seeking to leave due to ill health.
A settlement agreement can also be used as a means of concluding live or pending Employment Tribunal proceedings.
Why enter into a Settlement Agreement?
The purpose of entering into a settlement agreement is so that your employer is assured that you will waive any possible claims that you might have against them, any group company or its directors or staff.
It is usually the case that the agreement will act as a waiver against any possible claims that you could have, so far as is permissible by law. The potential claims that you might have include a claim for unfair dismissal, discrimination or other breaches of your employment contract.
There are common exceptions to the general waiver contained in a settlement agreement, and these are claims brought for the purposes of enforcing the terms of the agreement itself, claims related to your accrued pension rights, and latent personal injury claims (meaning a claim for personal injury, resulting from a negligent act or omission by your employer, but in circumstances where the injury has not manifested itself and you are unaware of it at the time the agreement is signed).
As well as the general waiver, your employer will want to fix your termination date, set conditions for your employment up to the termination date (for example you may be placed on leave, put on ‘garden leave’ or may simply continue to carry out your duties in the usual way), and to deal with issues of confidentiality and the return of company property.
In return, the employee will usually receive a one-off ex-gratia or termination payment. It is possible for the first £30,000 of any termination payment to be paid without deductions of income tax or national insurance,
The employee may also receive a payment in lieu of notice (PILON) or a further redundancy payment.
The employee should also receive a payment in lieu of any accrued but untaken holiday entitlement as at the agreed termination date.
Finally, it is possible for a settlement agreement to contain an agreed reference, or the wording of an agreed statement announcing that the employee is leaving the organisation.
How long will it take?
Our Solicitors appreciate that there will be circumstances where the settlement agreement offered will need to be concluded at short notice. Provided our settlement agreement Solicitors are able to receive a copy of the proposed agreement from you, they are typically able to produce the required specialist advice and to provide you with the agreement by return (with any required advisors certification completed) within 24-48 hours of you initially contacting us.
How much will it cost me?
The simple answer is nothing. It is typically the case that all of the costs of the provision of independent legal advice will be met by the employer. Fees of £300 to £500 plus VAT are typically covered, and the level of contribution from the employer will usually depend on the complexity of the terms of the agreement, and the seniority of the employee’s position. A greater contribution (typically up to £1,000 plus VAT) may be offered where the person leaving is at boardroom level and there is a transfer of shareholding involved.
Why contact Laker Legal Solicitors
For a settlement agreement to be valid, the Employment Rights Act states that it is necessary for the employee to receive independent legal advice on the terms of the agreement before it is completed.
This applies even if you are happy with the terms offered to you and you are simply looking to conclude matters as soon as possible.
Laker Legal Solicitors have considerable experience in providing advice to employees at all levels of a company structure and across a broad range of sectors who are considering entering into a settlement agreement.
If you have been offered a settlement agreement and need advice, you can contact our settlement agreement Solicitors today for a confidential, no obligation discussion on your options and for general advice and we can do this over a phone call with no need for a face to face appointment.