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Employment Settlement Agreements
If you have been offered a Settlement Agreement by your Employer, then it may have come as a surprise and a bit of a shock to you. You may be wondering what it is and why you’re being asked to sign it.
To ensure your employer is treating you fairly and that you get the best possible deal, it is essential to have specialist legal advice at every stage of making a settlement agreement with your employer.
At Pearson Hards, our Employment Law team are here to help guide you through the whole process. Our employment lawyers will protect your employment rights and get you the best possible settlement, giving you financial security and the time to plan your next career move.
We can offer you a dedicated and experienced lawyer who will handle your case from start to finish. They will be your point of contact whenever you have a question or want an update and we will always do our best to be available to you whenever you need us.
For an initial no obligation consultation on your rights and legal options, please call now 020 8949 9500 or request a call back.
Common questions about settlement agreements
What is a Settlement Agreement?
A Settlement Agreement is a legal document that your employer will have given you. It outlines the terms on which your employment with them will end and/or how any claims with them will be settled. It also aims to restrict your ability to bring any claims regarding your employment or the way it has been terminated.
In return, you will usually be offered payments or other benefits, some of which you may not otherwise be entitled to. These additional payments are known as “ex-gratia” payments or payments made as a “gesture of goodwill”.
Why do I need to get advice on my Settlement Agreement?
If you have read through your agreement and feel that you understand the terms, then you may be wondering why it is necessary to visit a solicitor to get advice on it. In order for the Settlement Agreement to be legally binding, everyone who is offered a Settlement Agreement has been given independent legal advice before signing it.
Your employer will also want to ensure that you fully understand the terms that are being offered. Often Settlement Agreements are quite lengthy documents and contain lots of legal jargon. Therefore, there may be matters which you had not appreciated or fully understood.
What is the process for making a settlement agreement?
If you contact us about a Settlement Agreement, we will ask you to arrange a visit to our offices to meet with one of our team. If you cannot visit the offices for any reason, then we can try to make alternative arrangements to provide you with advice. Depending on the complexity of the situation, interviews typically last 30 minutes to an hour of time.
We understand that often your employer will ask you to visit someone and return the signed Agreement very quickly. We will aim to do our best to arrange your interview and get the documents back to them as quickly as possible. We will ensure that we can meet those deadlines before accepting the instruction.
How we can help you with a settlement agreement
During the interview, one of our solicitors will ask you to explain the situation that has led to the Settlement Agreement being offered so that informed advice can be given to you. As well as explaining each of the terms of the Agreement to you, we can assist you by broadly explaining:
- The appropriateness of the financial terms being offered in light of the information provided to us;
- Any potential claims you may have against your employer and the value of those claims;
- Whether we believe in the circumstances it is right for you to accept the terms being offered or whether it is worthwhile trying to agree more favourable terms;
- The consequences and effect of signing the Agreement;
- The taxable status of any payments being offered;
- Your legal entitlement of any salary and benefits (pensions, private medical insurance, bonuses).
If the terms are acceptable, then you will be asked to sign the Agreement and it will be returned it to your employers so that they can then sign it. We will also have to provide your employers with a certificate that confirms that we have given you independent legal advice. Once signed by all parties, it will be legally binding.
If the terms are not acceptable or there are elements that you wish to renegotiate, then we can help you with that and will assist you until the terms are fully agreeable. Depending on the amount of time required to renegotiate, we will usually try to do any renegotiation within the original costs quote given.
Legal costs for making a settlement agreement
Your employer will usually have set out a maximum amount that they will be willing to pay towards your legal costs if the Agreement is signed. Depending on the level of those charges, we will try to cap our costs to that figure. We will be able to agree this with you during our initial chat with you. This will allow you to have certainty that you will not be personally responsible to pay anything more than the maximum offered by your employer.
If extensive renegotiation is required or you realise that instead of accepting the Settlement Agreement you wish to pursue a claim against your employer, then we advise you as soon as we realise that the original quote given is going to be exceeded. We will then aim to give you further costs information before you take any further steps.
Speak to our settlement agreement solicitors in New Malden, Surrey now
If you would like to speak to one of our team about a settlement agreement offered by your employer, you can book an initial no obligation consultation now by calling 020 8949 9500 or requesting a call back.