We understand that every client has an individual response to being offered a Settlement Agreement (previously known as a Compromise Agreement). For many people, the offer itself can signify the end of their relationship with their Employer. Some clients are pleased to receive the offer of a Settlement Agreement as this may have been something they wanted or even negotiated with their employer. For others, the offer has been made by the employer out of the blue and they are struggling to come to terms with the fact that they are no longer wanted.
We understand problems at work don’t stay at work; they affect every part of your life, causing stress and anxiety for you and your family. At Lincs Law Employment Solicitors we want to ease that stress and anxiety. We pride ourselves in giving each client clear advice about their situation, making sure they understand the consequences of signing (or not signing) the agreement they have been offered. Our qualified specialist employment solicitors have over 80 years’ experience between them, time they have spent helping people just like you.
What is a Settlement Agreement?
A Settlement Agreement is a contract between an employer and an employee which, usually, sets out terms for the employee to give up their job, their employment rights and any Employment Tribunal claims they may have in exchange for a compensatory payment from their employer.
Such agreements are offered by employers for many different reasons; and accepted by employees for many reasons more. Sometimes the offer follows negotiation of a dispute, sometimes it is to speed up a restructure of the company, sometimes it is simply an amicable parting of the ways. Whatever the reason, you need to make sure you have all the information you need to make the right decision for you and your family.
Do I have to sign?
Whether you sign the agreement is your choice. Obviously, every client’s circumstances are unique, but a game of “what if you don’t sign?” usually helps to clarify your options. We have had clients who thought they had to sign the Settlement Agreement, but when we talked through the background together their situation was not as they believed. You can only make an informed decision if you know all your options.
Should I sign?
Make sure you are actually getting some compensation for giving up your job and all your employment rights. When discussing the compensation payment, the first part of the process is to identify what payments you would be entitled to in any event. We look at notice, holiday, bonuses, long service awards, car allowance, pension contributions, redundancy payments etc. To be blunt, there is no need for you to sign a Settlement Agreement and subject yourself to all sorts of waivers and obligations, if you are simply receiving the payments you are already entitled to.
If I sign the Settlement Agreement, what will I have to do?
Make sure you understand what your obligations are under the terms Settlement Agreement. Usually you will be giving up your employment and waiving and settling your employment rights and claims. However, all sorts of additional requirements and indemnities sneak in to these types of contracts. Again, whether you sign the Settlement Agreement is your decision, but a decision you can only make if you are fully aware of your obligations.
If I sign the Settlement Agreement, what will my employer have to do?
In most circumstances, your employer will have to make a compensation payment to you by a certain date. However, you should also think about any provisions you might want in the agreement. Clients are often surprised that they can negotiate for terms they want in the contract.
For example, we will discuss with clients any restrictive covenants in their Contract of Employment and we will seek to have them released from those obligations as part of the Settlement Agreement. Sometimes we will discuss including references; health insurance; buying their company car; keeping tablets or laptops; keeping mobile phone numbers; in fact, anything which is important to the client. The Settlement Agreement is an important document and often the terms of the agreement itself are the only chance to include the provisions you want.
Let Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Help You
We fully appreciate that signing a Settlement Agreement will always be an important and personal decision for clients. Anyone considering a Settlement Agreement should ensure they have as much information as possible. This can be a life-changing decision, but whether that change is for the good or otherwise, playing “what if” after you sign is simply too late.
If you have been offered a Settlement Agreement and are looking for the right solicitor to help you, give us a call on 01522 440512 for a free, no obligation consultation.