My employer has given me a settlement agreement – Q&A
If you have been provided with a settlement agreement, you have probably been asked by your employer to take it to a solicitor. Here are the answers to our most commonly asked questions:
Do I have to pay legal fees?
No, it is usual for your employer to make a contribution to your legal costs in order to seek advice about entering into the agreement. The contribution will cover an initial consultation with a solicitor and we invoice the employer directly so no costs are usually payable by you.
The rare circumstances where we would charge you any fees is if you decide not to accept the settlement agreement after you have sought advice or if we enter into lengthy negotiations with your employer (although we always try to increase the contribution payable by your employer before charging you any fees).
Do I have to accept the agreement in the form that it has been given to me?
When you are offered a settlement agreement, or a settlement offer, you are under no obligation to accept the offer. The agreement will only be legally binding once it has been signed by you, your employer and a solicitor.
If your employer has offered you the terms of a settlement agreement i.e. provided you with a letter setting out various terms and you are unsure whether you wish to accept it, you are entitled to request the draft agreement in order that you can seek legal advice on the offer.
Do I actually need to see a solicitor or can I just sign it with my employer?
It is essential to take advice from a solicitor to have the terms and effect of entering into the agreement explained to you because this will make the settlement agreement legally valid. It will also give you the opportunity to discuss with an employment expert:
- Why you have received the agreement;
- Any relevant background, including any issues that you may have had with your employer;
- Any potential claims that you have against the company, which may be waived by signing the settlement agreement;
- Whether the compensatory amount offered is proportionate to any potential claims that will be waived; and
- Ask any questions that you may have concerning the agreement.
What are the next steps?
You will now need to arrange an appointment to see a solicitor so you can have your agreement explained. At Ellis Jones, we are committed to offering you appointments promptly either over the telephone or face to face. If circumstances are urgent, we are happy to offer telephone appointments on short notice. We are happy to have a no obligation chat over the telephone to answer any questions you may have.