More than half of employers have used settlement agreements as a means of resolving workplace issues and the government has encouraged their further use. Lawyers can do a lot in these situations to make sure you get the best deal you can.
A settlement agreement is a legally binding agreement either during or following the termination of your employment, and which brings your employment to an end. It is recognised by statute and is the only way you can validly “contract out” of your employment law rights. It usually provides for a severance payment, in return for which you agree not to pursue any claim or grievance you may have in an employment tribunal. You must take independent legal advice from a lawyer on the agreement for it be valid and your employer will normally pay for the cost of this.
Being presented with a settlement agreement can be a good thing. Not only will it give certainty of payment within an agreed timescale, but it should confirm that the first £30,000 of a redundancy or compensation payment can be made free of deductions. You also get the chance to have a job reference attached to the agreement together with clauses preventing either party from bad mouthing the other. This is very useful where an employee may have left under a cloud and wants to preserve their future reputation.
Our specialist employment lawyers may be able to challenge the amount being offered under the agreement and negotiate an increase – or argue for the employer to go down the settlement agreement route in the first place. Many employers can be receptive to such requests if a reasoned argument is put and there is a proper legal basis.
Contact us to find out if a settlement agreement with your employer would be appropriate if you are considering redundancy or your employment is being terminated circumstances where you feel you should be entitled to compensation. Call our Wolverhampton office on 01902 577777 or leave a message for us confidentially here or ask below for a call back from Richard Ennis.