A settlement agreement is a legally binding agreement between you and your employer, in which you waive your right to make claims against your employer, usually in return for a sum of money.
Since the effect of signing a settlement agreement is that you waive your legal rights against your employer, it is a legal requirement to take independent legal advice before doing so. The settlement agreement won’t be binding without it.
Once signed, a settlement agreement is almost impossible to unravel, even if it turns out you have received a bad deal, so it is essential you get the very best advice you can. Our Employment Team have advised on thousands of settlement agreements– from simple arrangements where terms are all agreed, to more complex agreements at director level.
We appreciate everyone’s circumstances are different, therefore we offer 3 services:
Advice and Complete Service
This service covers the minimum advice needed to satisfy the legal requirement. We will ask you to send the settlement agreement to us and then a telephone or video consultation will be arranged with one of our employment solicitors to discuss your agreement with you. During the consultation, we will take your instructions, assess what claims you may have against your employer, explain the terms of the agreement, and the implications to you if you sign it as drafted. If you decide to go ahead, then we will send the signed agreement to your employer for countersigning.
*The Advice and Complete Service is provided on a fixed fee basis. In view of the legal requirement to take independent legal advice, most employers will make a financial contribution towards the legal costs of taking advice on a settlement agreement. In the vast majority of cases, the employer’s contribution will be sufficient to cover our fee.
Wording Amendment Service
In the course of advising you on the terms and effect of the settlement agreement, we may suggest changes to the wording of it to protect your interests. It is important to remember that the settlement agreement will have been drafted for your employer and with your employer’s best interests at heart, rather than yours. It is our job to ensure you know what you are signing and that you do not unwittingly enter into an agreement which places unreasonable obligations on you, e.g. by exposing you to unacceptable tax liabilities or requiring you to enter into restrictions which might prevent you from working elsewhere.
Should you wish to seek any of our suggested amendments, and require our help with this, we can offer our Wording Amendment Service. We will contact your employer (or their representative, if they have one) directly and try to reach an agreement with them on your behalf.
This Service is also provided on a fixed fee basis. This means that if we need to carry out more work than we anticipated, it will not cost you anymore. The legal fees contribution paid by some employers will cover this service and if not, we can often negotiate an increased contribution.
Financial Offer Renegotiation
An important aspect of our Advice and Complete Service is to assess what claims you may have against your employer and what you could potentially achieve if you were to make a claim. We will let you know if the compensation which is being offered to you is too low.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the offer you’ve been presented with is set in stone – it can often be improved, with our help, even if you have already unsuccessfully tried to better the deal yourself. Our team have negotiated improved offers for clients in many cases.
As with everything we do, our charges for our Financial Offer Renegotiation Service are very reasonable and in most cases, this work can also be carried out on a fixed fee basis.
Contact our Employment Team on 01473 298174 or by email at [email protected].
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