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If you’ve been offered a settlement agreement by your employer then there’s a number of reasons why you should obtain specialist legal advice on your agreement – one of these being that your solicitor will have the expert knowledge needed to negotiate your settlement agreement. Employment law solicitor Chris Hadrill takes a look at how a settlement agreement should and can be negotiated, with some practical tips

What is a settlement agreement?

A settlement agreement is a contract regulated by statute which allows for potential or existing legal proceedings (whether these are in the employment tribunal, county court, or high court) to be settled. If an employee signs a settlement agreement this normally means that they’re prevented from bringing any claims in the tribunal or court, whether the claim is for breach of contract, unfair dismissal, discrimination, failure to pay wages, or any other form of claim. Under the agreement, the employee will, however, be provided with some form of benefit for agreeing to waive their rights to bring such claims, with such benefit normally involving some form of monetary sum and the provision of a reference.

Do you have to sign your settlement agreement or can your negotiate it?

You certainly don’t have to sign your settlement agreement as it is and it is often (although not always) advisable that you push your employer (gently) to see how much you can potentially obtain from the negotiations. If you wish to negotiate your agreement then this can be done by one of two ways: you can either do it yourself or, alternatively, instruct a third party (such as a specialist employment solicitor) to do this for you. Which approach is best in the circumstances really depends upon a number of factors, such as the nature of your potential claims, whether you still have a good relationship with the management of the business, and whether you feel confident in doing so (among other things).

Tips and tactics for negotiating a settlement agreement

If you’re looking to negotiate your settlement agreement with your employer (or are looking to instruct a solicitor to do so for you), there are a number of helpful tactics and tips which might help you to get what you want. These include:

  1. Instructing a specialist solicitor to negotiate you or advise you on your claims – your employer will generally cover part – if not the whole – of the cost of doing so
  2. Research your potential claims and determine where your leverage is – if you look like you don’t know what you’re doing then your employer will take advantage of this
  3. Be aware that you potentially have a £30,000 tax-free allowance for your settlement agreement (depending upon the type of claims that are being settled) – take advantage of this if you can
  4. Bear in mind that there is a three months less one day limitation period for Employment Tribunal claims – if you miss this then you lose a great part of your leverage
  5. Employers often play ‘hard ball’ – don’t be intimidated if you get an aggressive response
  6. If you make a ‘counter-offer’ to your employer’s offer of the settlement agreement then your employer is entitled (potentially) to withdraw from negotiations – this isn’t likely but bear it in mind as a possibility

If you’ve got any further questions then please don’t hesitate to contact Chris Hadrill or one of our specialist employment team on 020 3397 3603

About Chris Hadrill

Chris is a specialist employment lawyer at Redmans. He specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including breach of contract claims, compromise agreements and Employment Tribunal cases. He writes on employment law matters on a variety of websites, including Direct 2 Lawyers, Lawontheweb.co.uk, LegalVoice, the Justice Gap and his own blog. Contact Chris by emailing him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk

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    Testimonials

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    216 Reviews

    Valentina D

    Great service from Mel, she was very good at explaining every part of the settlement agreement and very efficient dealing with the HR team. Very professional team, I would definitely use them again in future if the opportunity came up.

    Posted 2 hours ago

    Olaf S

    I was very happy with the service that I have received. Thank You Regards

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    Rebecca A

    I had a wonderful solicitor called Caroline who was so helpful and gave me all the information I need and explained everything in detail so I was crystal clear. Would highly recommend if you are in need of a solicitor!

    Posted 2 days ago

    Gareth J

    Very efficient, helpful and pragmatic support from Caroline. Happy to work with my requirements / suggestions but also made some very good points which helped to achieve a higher settlement amount. Would highly recommend Caroline and Chris.

    Posted 2 days ago

    Ellen S

    Excellent, professional, timely. Friendly when I needed it most. Would recommend to anyone.

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    Excellent, professional, timely. Friendly when I needed it most. Would recommend to anyone.

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    Very professional and reliable. Timely answers, clear and to the point. Always looking for the best for their customers.

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    Rob T

    Very professional and on target - highly recommended.

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    Anonymous

    Very efficient service and knowledgeable solicitors.

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    Anonymous

    Excellent response time from first contact. Quick and easy completion of documents required. Fast response to any queries I made.

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    Anonymous

    Redmans Solicitors did a great job and were very professional at all times. Would definitely recommend.

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    Gary P

    All good advice, prompt and efficient

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent advice and customer service.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Aneet G

    I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Fern M

    Very efficient and friendly

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    Neville S

    A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Daniel T

    Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

    Posted 3 months ago

    Paul T

    Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Marina E

    Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

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    Rosa B

    Fabulous service all round.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans were quick to respond to my enquiry and dealt with my case professionally and personably. I received sound advice and was put at ease by Chris Hadrill, Partner.

    Posted 3 months ago