Settlement Agreements Leeds
Specialist Settlement Agreement Solicitors
Employment Solicitors Leeds are specialists in the area of Settlement Agreements. We are experts in guiding employers and employees through the legal mediation process.We have the understanding and experience to help both parties resolve the situation according to the law in a professional and sensitive manner and to an outcome that is both fair and relevant.
Wherever there has been a breakdown in a working relationship,we can achieve the resolution our clients may not be able to find without our depth of legal experience. We guarantee an accomplished and skillful delivery that is backed by law and formulated to protect each party within the negotiation and into the future.
When Does A Settlement Agreement Happen?
There are many situations when a Settlement Agreement might be required. The three key areas where they most regularly occur are:
- Performance disputes
- Disciplinary action
- Making redundancies
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Disagreements and disputes in the workplace can be incredibly time consuming and costly to an employer. The advantage of a Settlement Agreement is that it can achieve a fast and efficient, fair result—saving the employer both time and money and providing the employee with a just and legally binding resolution.
Failure to find a suitable solution for both parties can easily become drawn out and stressful. Our legal experts will outline a simple and fair process, explaining all rights dictated by law and the most effective impartial conclusion. Settlement can help avoid time-consuming and traumatic court cases, protecting employers and employees from unnecessary financial costs and stress-related health issues.
For corporations and larger business operations, we can provide Settlement Agreements to protect time and resources where there is no claim, legal breach or unlawful activity. For example, we guide businesses through the act of making multiple redundancies, giving clear advice into the best manner to meet all legal requirements to guarantee there will be no follow up action to contend with. We can provide the peace of mind required to avoid any issues that could impede the smooth daily operation of the business.
The Standard Terms Of Settlement Agreements
The Settlement Agreement process will involve a range of terms and conditions that will crop up during the management of your situation. The following is a useful selection of standard terms that feature in almost all agreements:
The termination of employment date; it also dictates the amount of notice an employee must work, and how the notice period should be managed.
A complete list of the reasons for termination. In some cases, a simple ‘by mutual agreement’ will be sufficient.
The lump sum the employee will receive from the employer as compensation for loss of employment.
An employee can be paid in lieu of notice, also known as the PILON. PILON can be added to the lump sum compensation as an additional payment to bring the completion of notice date forward to a mutually suitable date.
Garden leave is the period when employees do not have to attend the workplace during the notice period but can’t engage in employment for another company.
The employee signs an agreement not to pursue further legal action, whether by a tribunal or through the civil court.
The employer legally declares that the first £30,000 of compensation is to be paid tax-free. The employee will provide tax indemnity to the employer regarding any tax to be paid on the compensation amount.
Settlement agreements often contain sensitive information that the employer requires to remain confidential, relating to trade secrets, the existence of the Settlement Agreement and its terms and conditions.
Any inappropriate criticisms, accusations or derogatory remarks about the employer are prohibited in future discussions with third parties.
All outstanding payments will be outlined, including additional benefits up until the termination date. They will include holiday allocation, holiday pay, any commission, bonuses and expenses.
Information about pension contributions up to termination, the handling of the pension policy after termination and any alternate process for employees where PILON is in operation.
A schedule for the return of company equipment will be delivered to the employer.
An employee should make no attempt to cover up actions or disclose any information where the employer could have grounds to dismiss them without notice. This is known as a warranty and covers all areas of misconduct and negligence.
Restrictive covenants should be outlined after completion of the termination.
The employer should supply a suitable reference as defined in the agreement. The same information should be delivered in both verbal and written situations to any prospective future employer.
A Settlement Agreement can require an employee to disclose further employment offers under consideration at the time of negotiation. The availability of new employment can affect the compensation amount covered by loss of earnings, so is considered appropriate material for discussion.
The following clause is mandatory in all Settlement Agreements: “For the avoidance of doubt, nothing precludes [name of worker] from making a “protected disclosure” within the meaning of Part 4A (Protected Disclosures) of the Employment Rights Act 1996. This includes protected disclosures made about matters previously disclosed to another recipient.”
Gagging clauses at termination are not effective where an employee has FCA or PRA approval to carry out ‘regulated activities’.
Breach of the rules of the Settlement Agreement will result in the employee returning part or all of the payments made by the employer.
The employer generally agrees to pay towards or cover the full cost of the necessary legal advice required by the employee to participate in the Settlement Agreement process. While not a legal stipulation, the cost of fees and advice is nearly always accepted as the employer’s responsibility.
The signing of the agreement confirms the terms are final and no other document or additional information will affect the composition and rules defined in the settlement.
The 10 Day Cooling Off Period
For a Settlement Agreement to be binding, both parties must be in agreement of its content and directives. The employee doesn’t have to accept the terms presented by the employer and can dispute any areas they see fit.
The employee can request that the employer follow the procedure defined by ACAS when disputing the process. ACAS provides a statutory code into how a Settlement Agreement process should operate. This governs all acceptable practices and negotiation guidelines. It is advisable for employers to follow the ACAS guidelines—although they are not enforced to do so by law—as any deviation from the guidelines of best practice must merit good reason and further explanation.
The employee has 10 days to accept or reject the provided Settlement Agreement, according to ACAS. Acceptance must be the employee’s decision and made under no pressure from improper practices. Improper practices are outlined as improper pressure, lying, bullying or harassment to force the employee to make a decision against their will.
Employees must consider all offers thoroughly with expert legal guidance. An employee may find it difficult to negotiate towards a better outcome if any information or intention was revealed too early in the process.
Initially, an employee should simply observe meetings and negotiations. The agreement cannot be accepted until full legal advice has been provided to the employee, so any issues arising from the agreement should be saved for a private discussion with their legal advisor.
The Cost Of A Settlement Agreement
It is accepted as the employer’s responsibility to cover all costs of the Settlement Agreement. This includes the employee’s choice of legal advisor, their charges, and the legal costs applicable to the employee’s requirement to professional legal advice.
How Long Does It Take To Complete A Settlement Agreement?
No two cases are ever the same; discussions and completion times will vary. More complicated matters will take longer to arrive at the best outcome for both parties. However, our experienced and expert team are confident that they can deliver a complete resolution as efficiently and quickly as realistically possible.
We will provide guideline timescales once we have made a thorough investigation into your case, explaining the process, and what will be required to reach your best possible outcome.
Do You Need Guidance On A Settlement Agreement Or Assistance To Achieve Your Best Possible Outcome?
Our specialist team of employment solicitors are ready to provide independent advice and guidance on all matters of employment law. We specialise in the prudent handling of Settlement Agreement cases with professionalism and sensitivity. Any dispute with an employer can be stressful, so we are committed to attaining a respectful, professional and positive outcome in every project we undertake.
You can call on 0113 4334 118 or email for an initial consultation regarding all of your employment concerns. We offer complete and full advice in easy to understand terms to help establish the most likely outcomes for your case in a relaxed and pressure-free environment.
Our team is headed up by Louise Carr who had specialised in employment law for more than 15 years. She regularly appears in the employment tribunal and has been particularly involved in dealing with complex multi-day discrimination claims.
Craig McCracken is a Director in our employment team who also specialises in employment law with over 14 years’ experience in dealing with both contentious and non-contentious matters.In the most recent Legal 500 clients described Louise as being “accessible and down to earth” providing “clear and concise advice…in an exceptionally personable way”. Craig was described as “very knowledgeable and approachable” giving “sound advice”.