An unfortunate effect of the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is an increase in the level of redundancies and potential settlement agreement offers that employees are receiving as employers have to reassess their business structures and consider the most commercial way for them to cope with the situation.
There are alternatives to redundancies open to employers, such as placing employees on furlough, as reported widely in the press, however it may be that such a solution is not workable for the businesses in question.
Legal Advice on Settlement Agreement
In the event that you find yourself in a position of receiving a settlement offer or in discussions concerning terms of a settlement agreement with your employer, we can confirm that our offices remain fully operational, on a remote basis and we can provide you with the requisite advice, to assist you in considering your position and finalising matters with your employer.
Your employer will ordinarily advise to obtain independent legal advice, before agreeing to the terms of the settlement agreement. The reason for you obtaining independent legal advice about the terms and effect of the agreement, is so that you can be assured of the fact that there is nothing untoward contained within the settlement agreement. Equally, we may be able to provide you with advice that means that you may wish to negotiate the terms being offered to you or to clarify certain points. We are experienced in providing advice on settlement agreements and can help you navigate through the document. Furthermore, your employer will pay our costs, subject to our terms and conditions.
Given the fact that we are working remotely, we can arrange to explain the settlement agreement to you over the phone and we can arrange for the document itself to be returned to your employer electronically. We can turn around appointments for settlement agreements very promptly, in order that you can have the matter dealt with at the earliest opportunity.
Whilst the settlement agreement may have come as a surprise to you, we can confirm that we will make the process of providing advice, as quick and easy for you as possible.
Why a settlement agreement?
The reason for being provided with a settlement agreement, is that it can prevent an employee from bringing claims against their employer and it is also a document that enables an employer to pay an employee a tax free lump sum of up to £30,000. A previous guide published by us (https://paulrobinson.co.uk/news/guide-settlement-agreements.php) provides some further background information regarding settlement agreements.
In the event that you have been provided with a settlement agreement or have been advised that you will be given a settlement agreement in due course, please do not hesitate to contact us and we can take steps to set up a file for you and arrange for you to have a telephone appointment with a solicitor in our Employment Team. We will be able to advise you on any potential claims you may be settling, advise you in relation to any wording that needs to be changed and ensure that you fully understand the implications of the agreement.
Please do note that given the confidential nature of settlement agreements, that you should not discuss any settlement agreement that you have been provided with by your employer with any colleagues or anyone, before seeking legal advice.
Fiona Colwell, Partner and Head of Civil Litigation at Paul Robinson Solicitors, is available to provide advice on the terms of settlement that have been proposed to you and should you wish to progress matters by instructing Fiona, please call our office on (01702) 338338 or Fiona’s assistant, Claire Sparkes can be contacted at [email protected] and will be able to take you through the process of setting up a file for the advice to be provided.