16 November 2016
Every dismissal has the potential to result in a tribunal claim. Obviously the risk will vary depending on the circumstances, but even if you act entirely by the book you may still find yourself receiving a phone from ACAS informing you that your ex-employee intends to bring a claim. Their claim might be unmeritorious and/or contrived, but it will still have financial implications as well as taking up your valuable time and causing undue stress.
This is where Settlement Agreements (known before July 2013 as Compromise Agreements) can be worth their weight in gold. In return for a termination payment, which may include a payment in lieu of notice or a redundancy payment, employees can agree to waive claims against the employer to the fullest extent permissible by law. This includes the vast majority of claims that an employee may consider bringing, including in relation to statutory employment rights or discrimination claims. Certain claims in these categories can only be waived by way of a Settlement Agreement of with Acas conciliation.
There are various statutory requirements for a Settlement Agreement to be valid. For instance, the agreement must be in writing, the claims that are being waived must be particularised and the employee must seek independent legal advice on the consequences of signing the agreement. Failure to abide by these conditions will result in the agreement not being worth the paper it is written on.
As such, it is essential that you obtain specialist legal advice if you wish to benefit from the protection a Settlement Agreement can give you. The incentives to sign do not have to be monetary – an agreed reference can work wonders – and the peace of mind offered by the waiver means you can draw a line under what may have been a tricky situation.
At Alpha, we have a vast experience in providing bespoke, practical advice on HR and employment law issues. This includes providing bespoke employment documents, including Settlement Agreements to our Alpha members at no extra cost. We are proud of our commercial outlook and do not sit on the fence. If you would like to have Alpha on your side, please feel free to contact us.
Martin Kaye have provided advice in some highly complex HR matters and they continue to provide our day to day HR advice through their "ALPHA" HR scheme. They offer a very commercial and pragmatic approach and we have always been impressed by the level of service. The members of staff are approachable and easy to deal with.
Eurofilms Extrusion Ltd
Martin Kaye have provided us with employment and HR advice for several years and we have been very pleased with the level of service and quality of advice provided. We have no hesitation in recommending the team to any organisation which wishes to manage its employment related enquiries.
D Wauchope, Company Secretary
McPhillips (Wellington) Ltd
As a large employer of cleaning personnel, we require expert and prompt employment related advice. Martin Kaye's "ALPHA" service provides this in a clear and robust manner. We have been extremely impressed with the service and would thoroughly recommend them to any employer requiring expert HR & employment support.
J Conry, Chairman
It is important for us to create a close relationship with our advisors. Martin Kaye's "ALPHA" HR service is excellent. It enables us to work closely with our lawyers particularly in the complex area of employment law.
Johnny Hobeika, Operations Manager
Sanita (UK) Ltd
ALPHA is an excellent, reliable, professional service which is an integrated part of our business that we could not do without. This service is part of our structure and provides staff and business with the professional HR Support it requires - Invaluable
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