Expert advice on settlement agreements | Living North

Expert advice on settlement agreements

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Sweeney Miller
Sweeney Miller, are seeing a rise in complaints against employers and settlement agreements due to the difficult circumstances following the Coronavirus pandemic. We discover their best advice

This is a stressful time for both employers and employees who are faced with no other option but to make staff redundant and come to an agreement on the terms of their departure from the company.

If you have a complaint against your employer, you may be able to take your employer to an employment tribunal. This should be a last resort, although there are strict time limits that you must adhere to, so it is vital you obtain advice at an early stage. If you consider you have a grievance with your employer or have been treated unfairly, you should firstly raise the issues with your manager. If the issue remains unresolved, you may wish to enter early conciliation which Sweeney Miller can assist with. However, you must start early conciliation within three months (less one day) from the date of the issue or grievance which does not allow much time. If you’re claiming statutory redundancy pay or equal pay, the deadline is six months (less one day), therefore the deadline is not as strict but it is much more beneficial to obtain advice at an early stage.

If your employer does not wish for the issue to be taken further, they may wish to negotiate a settlement agreement with you. If you cannot reach an agreement during the conciliation stage, you only have one month after the period ends to make a claim to a tribunal unless an extension is provided.

If you contact Sweeney Miller about a grievance at work, you should ensure you are prepared for a telephone consultation and have any relevant documents and dates to email across to one of our advisors. They will require your contract of employment, the date or dates of your complaints/grievances and any relevant correspondence between you and your employer. If you can, create a chronology of events. For more complex matters, or if you would like someone to negotiate on your behalf, they would need to advise you on what their likely costs would be. 

Your employer may wish to settle matters following the conciliation process, but they also may invite you to sign a settlement agreement without any grievance procedure, such as redundancy packages which usually involves a promise to pay you a sum of money when you leave the company. You may hear the terms ‘severance agreement’, 'redundancy agreement' and ‘compromise agreement’ which are legally binding agreements between you and your employer which relates to the termination of your employment. You may not know how much you are entitled to and they strongly recommend that you seek legal advice to ensure you have been offered a fair package for the time you have invested in your employment; this can include pay in lieu of notice, holiday pay, and a redundancy payment for example. This should be discussed with you in person or in writing. Sweeney Miller recommend that you request an offer in writing so that they can review the package and advise you on the terms.

If you are happy with the settlement agreement and package offered and you wish to obtain independent legal advice on the terms of the agreement, your employer will usually pay costs; therefore, you may not need to pay anything, and Sweeney Miller can deal with your employer direct. They will ensure that you understand what you’re agreeing to. 

If you would like an appointment to discuss your settlement agreement, please contact Rebecca Cresswell today on rebecca@sweeneymiller.co.uk or call us on 0191 568 2050.

 

Published in: September 2020

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