A settlement agreement is the same as the old style compromise agreement which existed for many years. It is a legal agreement whereby you agree to waive any claims you may have against your employer in exchange for payment under the agreement. There are many standard clauses and it is a legal requirement in order to get a binding agreement that you seek legal advice from a relevant independent advisor (a qualified solicitor being one such example) and it is normal for your employer to meet the cost of that advice or at least a contribution to it.
I can be formally instructed at a number of stages. Some employees have a fixed fee appointment with me whereby they are looking for advice on issues at work and one of the options is for them to seek a Settlement Agreement as an agreed resolution to those issues. Some of the issues people face at work are so great that they simply cannot face returning to work or remaining there. Others instruct me to negotiate on their behalf during the process and others instruct me to advice on the agreement itself once a deal has been done. It is an entirely personal preference.
Whilst it is a legal requirement that you obtain legal advice, there is no requirement that the solicitor actually practices employment law. The requirement does not extend to the practising area of the solicitor. A solicitor specialising in any area of law, even something unconnected like wills, can advise on a settlement agreement.
If you are in receipt of a settlement agreement then you should seek expert advice so that you ensure that you are getting the best package not just advice on what is in the agreement and what it means. In 12 years I can only recall one or two examples where my client (the employee) has ever signed the original first draft of the settlement / compromise agreement.
In 99% of cases I have been able to add value to the agreement by increasing the package, changing the terms to be more favourable to the employee or bringing tax savings. Sometimes more than one improvement can be achieved. I am that confident of adding value, that I am prepared to publicly state that I charge you no more than is in the agreement by way of your employer's contribution to your legal fees if I don't. So the risk is mine and you take the benefit of my experience. What have you got to lose?
So if you have a settlement agreement, I can look at adding value for you. I am based in Northamptonshire but act for clients all over the UK. So if you want a solicitor to look at your settlement agreement that is:
• Experienced in employment law;
• Has a proven track record for adding value;
• Will not charge you more than your employer will pay if the agreement is not improved in some way;
then contact me now to discuss the matter further.