Josiah Hincks Solicitors are specialist settlement agreement solicitors in Leicester, Blaby and Coalville. We have a dedicated website to settlement agreements which can be accessed by this link: Made Redundant. There we also have a great free ebook which covers everything you need to know about settlement agreements before you visit our settlement agreement solicitors.
What follows is a brief summary of settlement agreements but you will need to see a free independent settlement agreement solicitor in order to sign off your settlement agreement. No-cost meetings can be arranged with out settlement agreement solicitors in our Blaby, Coalville or Leicester offices.
What is a Settlement Agreement?
A settlement agreement is a written contract between an employee and employer that is used to end the employee employer relationship.
The settlement agreement seeks to terminate all legal rights accrued between the employee and employer i.e. any rights in respect of a discrimination or harassment claim are surrendered in return for a compensatory payment.
When are Settlement Agreements used?
They are often used when there has been an ongoing dispute between the employer and employee (usually a grievance has been raised). However, settlement agreements are used for a number of different reasons that may be as simple as using this as part of a voluntary redundancy procedure or for resolving a complex discrimination dispute.
What is contained within a Settlement Agreement?
The exact contents of a settlement agreement will vary from business to business but it is common to find a clause stating what financial sum will be paid to the employee, what rights are being signed away, tax implications (if any) and a number of other clauses that seek to protect the parties.
In the case of the employer, they will want to ensure the employee has signed away all their legal rights to bring a claim and will not make derogatory statements about the employee and there will normally be a confidentiality clause in respect of the agreement. In the case of the employee, they will want to see that a compensatory amount is being paid to them and that they will receive a reference for their new employer.
What happens when a Settlement Agreement is proposed?
A settlement agreement may be proposed on a ‘without prejudice’ basis. This means the parties are able to discuss the terms of settlement without the court / tribunal being made aware of the same.
The employer will normally draft the agreement and the compensatory payment will normally be agreed with the employee.
The employee will then be required to seek independent legal advice in respect of the agreement.
Independent Legal Advice
In order for the settlement agreement to be lawful it and the circumstances leading up to the proposed settlement need to be reviewed by an independent solicitor. The solicitor’s job is to help ensure the employee understands the terms of the settlement, what rights are being waivered and to advise the employee whether they would be better off or not making a claim through the courts /tribunal against the employer rather than entering into the agreement.
A meeting between the employee and the solicitor will need to take place. It normally takes about 30minutes to 1 hour to fully advise an individual about a settlement agreement but this depends on the individual circumstances and length of the settlement agreement.
If the employee understands and agrees to the terms of the agreement the employee is invited to sign the agreement before the solicitor signs a certificate of legal advice (this confirms that advice has been given).
The settlement agreement is then returned to the employer for signing.
The employer bears the costs of drafting the settlement agreement and contributes towards the cost of the employees legal advice. This means our advice is usually provided at no cost to you.
Josiah Hincks have qualified solicitors across its branches in Leicester, Blaby and Coalville who are available to provide legal advice in respect of settlement agreements or to draft an agreement on behalf of a business. For more information please contact Steven Mather.