This page explains what your options are once you’ve been given a settlement agreement by your employer and what your next steps should be.
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What are my options with a Settlement Agreement?
You have three main options, once you receive a settlement agreement and after receiving my independent legal advice:
- Sign the agreement – 90% of my clients will do this
- Negotiate the agreement – seek more money or make changes to it
- Reject the agreement – this may lead to an Employment Tribunal claim.
Option 1 – Sign the Agreement
The easiest of options. My independent legal advice on the settlement agreement might be just to sign the agreement. This can be for a variety of reasons but is generally because you either do not have any claims (for example, because you have not worked there for 2 years and so cannot claim unfair dismissal) or because the money on offer satisfactorily compensates you for any claims you might have.
Before signing the agreement, I will take time to understand the circumstances surrounding the ending of your employment and I will also take you through all of the terms of the agreement so that you understand what it is you are signing.
If you’re happy to sign the agreement, then you will sign it and send it to me. I will then sign the Advisor’s Certificate, to confirm I have provided you with independent legal advice.
Once I’ve signed, I will send the agreement to your employer for them to sign (unless they have already signed it). I will also send them my invoice for payment so that you can be reimbursed the initial deposit.
Option 2 – Negotiate the Agreement
My advice might be that the package on offer is satisfactory, but if it is not, or the wording is not right, then I might suggest we negotiate the agreement. You may have already decided that you want to negotiate and seek more money even before hearing my advice.
It may be that we seek:
- More money
- Additional benefits
- A change to the wording
If you instruct me to negotiate the agreement, then there will be additional costs over and above the employer’s contribution. Depending on the issues, this could be an extra £100-1000 plus VAT, but I will agree this with you beforehand.
I will always ask your employer to increase the contribution to legal costs though. Most of the time, they will agree, and therefore you will not be out of pocket.
However, I will only advise you to negotiate if I feel that there is going to be a benefit greater than the additional costs you’ll incur.
There are generally four responses that an Employer can make:
- Say yes, and agree, producing a new agreement to sign
- Say no but counter-offer with alternative figures
- Say no, and say the offer is non-negotiable
- Withdraw the agreement completely
Most of the time, it is one of the first three options. Rarely do employers withdraw the agreement completely, more likely will they respond by saying no and saying it is non-negotiable and setting an urgent timescale for acceptance.
Option 3 – Reject the Agreement
We might agree that rejecting the agreement is the best option for you, but this is pretty rare. It will be where the breaches of employment law are so serious but the package offered does not properly compensate you.
This is usually for serious discrimination claims.
If you reject the agreement and new terms cannot be agreed, then your next step would be to bring an Employment Tribunal claim.
The first steps would be to go through ACAS and their Early Conciliation service. If that fails, then you can issue an Employment Tribunal claim online.
At this point, I would discuss with you the issue of fees as well as prospects of succeeding at Tribunal.
The first step once you’ve received a draft settlement agreement is to appoint your independent legal advisor. I’d like it to be me, Steven Mather Solicitor, a specialist Settlement Agreement Solicitor acting for clients like you throughout the UK.
If you’re unsure and don’t know which way to turn, then please just give me a call or contact me and I’ll call you. I’ll explain everything in plain English and support you. There are some compliance matters you would need to complete before we can actually review your settlement agreement, such as Money Laundering Checks (providing ID) and acceptance of Nexa Law’s terms and conditions, privacy notice and payment on account of the legal fees, but first of all let’s just speak.
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