As a consequence of Covid-19 and the uncertainty that the current pandemic has caused, a vital component of society that has been deeply affected has been employment and the workforce.
At Alison Law Solicitors, we continue to provide legal help, support and representation during these unprecedented times and are able to offer employment law advice remotely to resolve and mitigate the issues that you may be experiencing due to Covid-19 as an employee.
Given the unprecedented situation that Covid-19 has placed businesses in, many employers may now be considering redundancy to help steer their business through these uncertain times.
One means by which an employer and employee may seek to end their relationship amicably is through a Settlement Agreement.
What is a Settlement Agreement?
A settlement agreement is a written and legally binding document which sets out the terms on which an employer and employee have ended the business relationship or employment.
What does a settlement agreement contain?
Ordinarily, a settlement agreement will contain a compensation or ex-gratia payment which is over and above the employee’s contractual entitlement or statutory redundancy entitlement. In return, it is common place for settlement agreements to require the employee to agree not to pursue any claims against the employer and is a means to prevent an employee from bringing a claim and/or claims against the employer in the future.
The settlement agreement will contain terms which govern confidentiality obligations, return of property, fees and any restrictions that may be placed on the employer and employee once the employment comes to an end.
Why do you need to obtain Legal Advice?
In order for a settlement agreement to be legally binding, it is a requirement for the employee to seek independent legal advice on the terms of the settlement agreement and its effect on both the employer and employee.
In line with the Acas Code of Practice, it is important for an employer to allow a minimum of 10 calendar days for an employee to seek legal advice on the settlement agreement proposed.
The role of the legal adviser is to ensure that the advice is given independently and to confirm that the advice has been given by signing the Adviser’s Certificate which must be included within the settlement agreement proposed.
What about legal fees?
Employers will normally pay or contribute towards the legal costs of obtaining advice in relation to a settlement agreement.
What does Alison Law Solicitors offer?
At Alison Law Solicitors we are available to guide you through the terms of the settlement agreement and what it means for you and your employer and take you through the potential claims that you may be settling, explain the agreement to you and advise you in relation to any changes to the wording to ensure that you are protected.
Due to the current pandemic, we are currently offering telephone or video meetings to advise clients in relation to Settlement Agreements to ensure that social distancing measures are complied with.
We appreciate that the possibility of redundancy brings with it a certain degree of concern, anticipation and anxiety and we are here to guide you through this difficult process to ensure that you receive, clear, concise and considered advice to bring matters to a swift and successful conclusion.
We are available to offer a meeting at short notice and will contact your employer promptly following the meeting to raise any concerns or issues in respect of the terms of the Agreement.
Once you have considered our advice and provided that you are prepared to accept the terms of the settlement agreement, we will arrange for you to sign the Agreement and then return the Agreement to your employer, together with the Adviser’s Certificate.
Our Head of Employment, Jawad Asif is available to provide advice on not only how but the best way to move forward with your settlement agreement, particularly during this difficult time and is offering a free consultation for any initial enquiry. If you would like to speak to Jawad to discuss your options, please call our Employment line on 0161 674 0166 or simply email your enquiry or request a call back via e-mail Jawad.Asif@alison-law.co.uk.