If you have been offered a settlement agreement by your employer, we can help you in navigating your exit from the company. We will work with you to try and keep the process straight forward and to achieve your aims by explaining the agreement to you in plain English so that you fully understand it and negotiating any changes with your employer on your behalf.
We have employment specialists in all three of our offices and if you are unable to attend any of these we can advise you over the phone.
Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Kitsons employment law team for further advice.
A ‘settlement agreement’ is a legally binding agreement in which you waive your right to bring various claims including statutory claims. It also sets out the basis for the termination of your employment, where applicable.
Employers are now increasingly using settlement agreements as a mechanism for preventing possible future complaints to a tribunal, especially in redundancy situations.
For a settlement agreement to be a legally binding waiver of claims, you are required to take independent legal advice on the terms and effect of the agreement. You will also be required to provide background information as to how the settlement agreement came about.
Your employer will normally make a contribution towards legal fees. This will usually cover all of the legal fees however if our fees are in excess of this contribution we will first seek an increase from your employer before asking you to agree to a fee in excess of their contribution.
Settlement agreements are legally binding contracts. By signing the agreement, you usually agree to waive any claims (along with your statutory right to bring any claims) that you may have against the employer arising out of your employment and its termination.
Under the agreement, your employment will terminate on the date set out in the agreement and you will be paid your normal salary up to that date together with any additional sum due to you in lieu of holiday pay accrued but untaken. These amounts will be minus any deductions for tax and national insurance.
It is also common under a settlement agreement for the employer to make an ex-gratia payment to you. This will be paid to you solely to compensate you for your loss of employment.
The payments made under a settlement agreement will be conditional upon your compliance with the terms of the agreement. You will be required to give warranties and honour obligations such as:
Your employer may provide you with a form of reference under the agreement which will be provided to prospective employers on request. This will often be a simple, factual reference.
Depending on the terms of the agreement, you may remain bound by (or be asked to enter into) post termination restrictive covenants that could affect your ability to obtain employment in certain fields or geographical areas for a specified period of time.
Leaving your employment under a settlement agreement may affect your ability to claim under an income and/or mortgage protection policy, if you have one of these we suggest you contact the provider of the policy to clarify your position.
Leaving your employment under a settlement agreement may also affect your ability to claim Job Seekers Allowance and other income support benefits.
If you have shares with the company that you are employed by or are a director of that company then you will need to inform us of this so that we can advise you of any additional steps you will need to take.