What if I’m happy with my settlement agreement amount?
You may already have been offered a settlement agreement which has been the culmination of a lengthy process between you and your employer and has resulted in an offer of settlement that is acceptable to both sides.
Top TipsNicola Welchman
You are required to obtain legal advice for the agreement to be binding
Even if you are happy with the offer the agreement can still be changed to your benefit
Seek an experience lawyer to ensure you get the best out of your agreement
It’s a legal requirement for you, as an employee, to receive independent legal advice from a qualified lawyer when you enter into the terms of a settlement agreement. Most people faced with this scenario seek out a firm of lawyers who offer a ‘sign-only’ specialist service. Under the terms of such a service, the lawyer advises on the terms of the agreement, the effects of those terms on your future plans and on whether the level of compensation is the best deal for you in your particular circumstances.
Who is a ‘sign-only’ service for?
This service is suitable for you if you are satisfied with your overall settlement offer and just want advice on the terms of the agreement. Having said that, some redrafting of the agreement will usually be required so that you get maximum benefit from the terms.
Even though the terms of the financial settlement have been agreed, it’s still a stressful experience for you if you are an employee facing termination of their employment. It’s essential therefore that the lawyer you choose to review your agreement is suitable and experienced.
Many firms pass over the signing of settlement agreements to junior lawyers who are inexperienced in employment law and in giving advice to employees on settlements (this is not the case at Monaco Solicitors). You should avoid this kind of set-up and check out the employment law experience and reputation of the firm you will be dealing with and also the experience of the person to be assigned to your case, before you ask them to act on your behalf.
Why you need advice from a specialist in employment law
The fact that you have been offered an agreement does not mean you are out of the woods yet. The terms of the agreement can be so onerous that the original deal is seen in a different light when advice is taken, or it may contain terms which restrict you so much when you have left your job, that it will effectively ruin your future career.
This is when it’s essential to take proper legal advice on the contractual terms of the agreement from a lawyer who has had many years of experience in dealing with not only the terms of the agreement themselves, but also the consequences of those terms in court.
Specialist expertise and experience are particularly important in advising on the consequences of restrictive covenants and confidentiality clauses. What’s more, in almost all cases that make it to court, the cost, stress and disruption could have been avoided had the employee taken proper legal advice on their contract and/or settlement in the first instance.
You might care to have a look at our settlement agreement templates. These examples of settlement agreements drawn from real life will give you an idea of the complexities of such documents and why you need a specialist to review your agreement.
Finally, time is often of the essence in ‘sign-only’ situations, and you may be seeking to obtain advice and a settlement agreement certificate in a matter of hours, rather than in days or weeks. So do check out the turn-around time of the lawyer you choose to sign off your agreement which not only needs to be dealt with quickly, but also efficiently and above all, with your best interests in mind.
Collective or multiple redundancies
Unfortunately, changes in business circumstances sometimes dictate that an employer will need to make multiple redundancies in order ensure its survival or competitiveness. This inevitably leads to the employer offering a large group of employees similar settlement agreements.
This is another area where an employment law specialist firm can help. Such a firm can send a lawyer or even a team of lawyers to an employer’s workplace or a neutral venue to advise large groups of employees on the effects of their terms of settlement. Special rates can probably also be negotiated for a service like this.
If you think that we could help you by reviewing and signing your agreement , please don’t hesitate to get in touch by filling in our online contact form – this will only take 2 minutes to fill out and will help us to understand your individual circumstances.
You could also use our settlement calculator to find out a settlement figure that you could potentially achieve. If what you’ve been offered is significantly less than this then contact our team today.
For straight-forward cases we can provide a 24 hour turnaround for sign only settlement agreements, and don’t forget that it is not the employee that pays our fee for this, but the employer. For further information, see the outline of our fees here.