I have been given a settlement agreement – what happens now?

Settlement agreements are a confidential way of your employer agreeing with you how the employment relationship will end. It may have been given to you during an open redundancy process, in response to a grievance you have raised, or in some cases it may have come completely out of the blue. Broadly speaking the agreement will say that you agree to not bring any claims against your employer in return for financial compensation and/or an enhanced reference.

Whatever the circumstances the law is clear on what needs to be done to make the settlement agreement legally binding.

  • It needs to be in writing,
  • Relate to the specific claims being settled.
  • The employee must get independent legal advice from a solicitor who has suitable professional insurance in place, and
  • The agreement must state that the conditions relating to settlement agreements have been met.

You should contact us as soon as you have been given your settlement agreement as your employer will usually set a tight deadline for you to get the required advice and sign the agreement. We will ask you to provide some ID and deal with our professional formalities to instruct us.

Once instructed we ask you to let us have relevant documents such as your contract of employment, your payslips, the settlement agreement itself and relevant policies and communications.

It is important that you disclose everything concerning your employment and its termination to us so we can properly advise you. We will review your documents and the agreement ahead of a meeting; we are able to offer meetings remotely or in person at one of our offices.

During the meeting we will ask about your employment and the circumstances behind the agreement. If you believe you have a claim against your employer, we can discuss the potential value of your claim with you, this will help you decide if the package of compensation you have been offered is acceptable to you.

We will take you through the agreement and explain in plain English what the clauses mean. We will be able to point out any pitfalls and will, if you ask us to, negotiate with your employer to secure any changes to the agreement and to increase the package offered if necessary. There will of course be every opportunity for you to ask questions and our experienced and friendly solicitors, Anna and Sarah will be able to guide you through the entire process from start to finish.

Your legal fees are payable by you but typically employers contribute to those fees and some will pay all fees. The agreement will say how much they are prepared to contribute, in many cases there will not be any cost to you if you sign the agreement.

If you have a settlement agreement and would like advice then please contact Anna Illingworth or Sarah Filsell by email at employment@rowberrymorris.co.uk or by telephone on 0118 951 6621.