Settlement Agreement Solicitors
What is a Settlement Agreement?
Our employment law solicitors understand that employers often want to dismiss employees without following procedures or without having a fair reason for dismissal.
The solution is often a UK Settlement Agreement [or Compromise Agreement as it was known before July 2013] under which the employer pays the employee a sum of money and the employee effectively signs away rights to any claims they may have against the employer. It is essential that any employee understands the effect of a Settlement Agreement and in order for a Settlement Agreement to be valid it is necessary for the employee to get advice from an independent employment law solicitor.
How can help you
When dealing with your settlement agreements, our solicitors will:
- Get hold of the draft settlement agreement from your employer
- Explain your options – and advise on you are entitled to and whether the settlement offer made by your employer is reasonable – or whether it can be improved upon
- Negotiate the terms of the agreement [if you are unhappy with it]
- Finalise the settlement agreement, agree any amendments and arrange to have it signed and completed
Our Settlement Agreement Solicitors are experienced negotiators and will ensure you get a fair settlement. We will also advise you on your options, which if you are unhappy with the terms following any attempt at negotiation might include making an Employment Tribunal claim against your employer.
Our employment law solicitors also help employers with the drafting of such Agreements to ensure that they are valid and comply with the appropriate legislation.
How much will a Settlement Agreement cost?
When acting for employees, in most cases:
- There is usually no cost to you for our legal advice on your Settlement Agreement. Your employer will usually pay your legal costs. Our solicitors can confirm whether or not you will have to pay any costs as soon as they see the draft Settlement Agreement and after an initial FREE consultation with you on the phone or in person
- Our solicitors can advise you very quickly
- We can advise you by phone or email if you prefer
What will my settlement agreement contain?
Although each and every agreement is usually different, here are some of the most common clauses contained in many of them:
- Your termination date: i.e. the date when your employment finishes
- How much compensation you’re going to receive. You can usually take a maximum of £30,000 tax free. However if your compensation package includes wages and holiday pay or PILON (payment in lieu of notice), then you expect to have income tax and national insurance contributions deducted] . This clause may also cover any agreement relating to the benefit or pensions due to the employee.
- Payment of your legal costs. It’s usual for employers to either pay, or at least make a significant contributions towards your solicitor’s costs, because the settlement agreement won’t be valid without you having taken independent legal advice
- A confidentiality clause. It’s common for the agreement to include terms restricting both parties ability to reveal what’s in the settlement agreement – and if appropriate, it may also try to limit your ability to reveal trade secrets or confidential business information
- Some agreements contain restrictions on either party from making any critical comments about the other
- Some settlement agreements also include an agreement by the employer to provide an employment reference – if this applies to your case, and it’s always a good idea to get the actual reference included as a schedule to the agreement itself
- Restrictive covenant – some employers may try to put some sort of restriction on your future employment. While this may be appropriate for some senior positions, this is exactly the kind of reason why you need a specialist solicitor to look at your settlement agreement
- Waiver of claims: This clause usually provides that the employee gives up the right to make certain listed claims against the employer [NB the rights to some claims such as maternity or paternity pay can’t be given up in a settlement agreement]
- Employee warranty. It’s not usual for the employee to give certain assurances such as agreeing to return the employer’s confidential information or other property
- Entire agreement clause. This technical clause can sometimes be quite important – it means that neither party can try to rely on anything said or written in negotiations or contained in any other document. An entire agreement clause is fairly self-explanatory – it means that the settlement agreement is the whole of the agreement with nothing else included.
Contact our Settlement Agreement Solicitors today
Our Employment Law Solicitors provide legal advice to employees who are offered a Compromise Agreement and will assess whether the amount offered within the agreement is enough in the circumstances. We don’t even need to see you to advise you. We act for Employers and Employees throughout Wiltshire, Hampshire, Dorset and throughout England and Wales from our offices in Salisbury and Andover.
For specialist legal advice from our expert Settlement Agreement Solicitors, contact us today.