• Posted

With the end of furlough looming, we are seeing an increase in employees needing settlement agreement advice.

Settlement agreements are legal documents that prevent an employee from making an employment claim (such as unfair dismissal or redundancy) in return for a financial payment.

Here are some of the questions you might be asking if you have recently been offered a settlement agreement.

Why must I see a lawyer about a settlement agreement?

The Employment Rights Act 1996 requires that you obtain independent legal advice, otherwise the agreement will not be fully legally binding on you. This is why employers usually offer an additional sum towards an employee’s legal costs.

Do I have to accept the settlement agreement?

No. You can reject it at any time before signing, even if you have already indicated to your employer that you agree to the main terms on offer. However, it may be in your interest to accept it, and your lawyer will advise you on this.

Should I ask for more money?

It might be reasonable to ask for a higher settlement payment if you have potential legal claims, and if you are unlikely to find comparable employment for some time. Researching the current job market and understanding your legal rights are essential. We regularly help clients to achieve a higher settlement figure, as well as an increased employer contribution towards their legal costs.

Do I need to meet my lawyer face to face to set up a settlement agreement?

Where Covid restrictions allow, you should be able to meet in person with your lawyer. However, consultations can also be held remotely, either by telephone or virtually. We also offer electronic signing of settlement agreements, which means the entire process can be handled remotely, from start to finish.

How long will the process take?

Typically, we conclude a binding legal agreement for clients within two weeks, but we can and do work to shorter timescales where necessary.

If you need help with a settlement agreement or have further questions, please get in touch with a member of our employment team.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.