This is the third and final part of our blog series on the topic of “Settlement Agreements”. Please see part one and part two. Each blog has answered some of the frequently asked questions raised by employees. We have also set out some practical guidance on what to do if you are presented with a settlement agreement.
Do I have to sign the settlement agreement?
No. Settlement agreements are completely voluntary and their terms must be agreed by both parties. Once the agreement has been signed by you and your employer it will become a legally binding document. It is important that you are not forced into signing the settlement agreement if you do not wish to do so. Of course, if you do not sign the settlement agreement your employer will not pay you the compensation sum.
How do I know if I’m getting a fair deal?
The legal role of your solicitor is to explain the terms and effect of the settlement agreement itself. However, your solicitor will be happy to advise you on the merits of any potential legal claims you may have against the employer. This will involve considering if you could have an unfair dismissal claim or any discrimination protection. This will help you to establish whether you are being offered a fair settlement package.
If you would like to negotiate on the financial package that you have been offered, your solicitor will be able to discuss this with you. The decision to negotiate will involve weighing up the employment rights you are waiving against the benefit of the compensation you are receiving. You may wish to negotiate the specific wording of certain clauses. This is something that your solicitor will be experienced in advising you on.
When will the compensation be paid?
Usually the sums are paid within 7 to 28 days of you signing the agreement or in the next payroll. However, this can vary depending on your termination date or what has been agreed. The payment terms will be contained in the settlement agreement and your solicitor will be able to confirm this.
Paris Smith has an eight-strong team of qualified employment solicitors. We advise employees on settlement agreements on a regular basis and we are equipped to guide you through this process. If you would like to speak with a member of the team, please do contact us and we would be happy to help.