What is a Settlement Agreement?
A Settlement Agreement (previously known as a “Compromise Agreement”) is a legally binding agreement following the termination of your employment.
Settlement agreements are often given to employees when they are being made redundant. However, they can also be offered to employees if an employer thinks they are performing badly in their job or are guilty of misconduct. In some cases, an employee will be aware that their boss is unhappy, while for others, being offered a settlement agreement can come as a shock.
Essentially, an employee is given money or severance pay in return for not bringing a claim against their employer. Each settlement agreement will vary but usually the documents will include clauses that deal with: the claims to be settled; the payments you will receive and the relevant tax issues; a confidentially/gagging clause (so you can’t bad mouth your employer) and any agreed reference from your employer. Once signed by both the employer and the employee and certified by an independent solicitor, a settlement agreement becomes legally binding.
How we can help
When you’re pulled into a meeting and asked to leave your job, it can be a shock. Later on, it can be hard to recall exactly what was said. The best advice is therefore to make a note about what happened and what was said as soon as possible. The next thing to do is get some decent advice. An employer will usually pay the legal costs for you to see a solicitor or qualified adviser independent of the employer as it is a legal requirement for the settlement agreement to be contractually binding on the employee.
An employment solicitor can help you consider whether you’re getting a good deal and whether you have any grounds for a claim against your employer – such as discrimination or unfair dismissal. If you’re facing a period of unemployment, you need to be able to meet your household living expenses until you get another job. One of the considerations you need to make is whether the money that is being offered is enough.
You need to consider why you are being offered the agreement and what rights you are being asked to waive as a result of you signing. Armed with this knowledge, you can often save legal costs by negotiating yourself directly with your employer and in our experience, you often end up with a better deal, which may include a bigger payment.
The employer will often insist that the settlement agreement be signed by a particular date, but you are not legally obliged to sign a settlement agreement and if you don’t sign the agreement, then your full employment rights are reserved for you to make a claim against your employer.
To see some typical terms of a settlement agreement and our advice on them, please click here.
Barrett and Co has been our family solicitors for over 20 years for various legal matters, including, immigration, purchasing properties, tenancy disputes, wills and recently employment related matters. This includes our extended family too. We would without any hesitation recommend Barrett and Co and in particular, Justin Sadler and his team for legal matters. Very helpful team of solicitors, knowledgable, friendly and understanding. On every occasion, from the initial contact to the resolution, it’s always a pleasure to work with them and no complaints at all. Easy to contact, updates where needed and the charges are well explained and reasonable too. Even though we live in Ascot, we find it easy to do most of the paperwork remotely and only visit the branch when it’s absolutely necessary. Thanks again and a very happy client.
I would definitely recommend Barrett and co-solicitors to anyone! I recently engaged Charlotte Fox to get a will put together and I must say that Charlotte made it an fast, effortless and painless process for me.. pricing was very competitive and I received regular communication and some great advice from her that ensured the will represented exactly what I needed. I have used other solicitors in Caversham in the past and I must say my experience with Barrett and co has been the best by far.
I found these solicitors very helpful in drawing up my will. First class service and a pleasure to deal with.
Not having spoken with Solicitors for many years we viewed our visit to Barrett and Co. with some trepidation but were completely put as ease by both Charlotte's with the advice and understanding given by them when requiring advice on changing our Wills and other associated matters. These matters were discussed thoroughly with ourselves throughout and completed very promptly. We would certainly recommend their services and have no hesitation in using them again, should the need arise.
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Excellent service and advice I would certainly use Barrett and Co again. Justin was very professional and knowledgable enabling me to achieve my desired outcome and cannot thank him enough. N
Highly recommended solicitors. Our experience of using Barrett and Co has been very positive, responses have always been on time and informative. We won't hesitate to use again should we need to.
I found Barrett and Co to be extremely helpful during a very stressful time. Paul and his trainee Nicholas were always quick to answer any questions I had and never failed to reassure me. I am glad I put my trust in them and would wholeheartedly recommend their services to others.