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A fast and efficient way through mass redundancy settlement agreements

As an employer, managing the requirements of a collective redundancy process – when a group of employees is asked to enter into settlement agreements – can be complex and demanding but there are some key ways that specialist lawyers here at Wards Solicitors can help.

Proposing a single law firm to advise all your employees – it is a legal requirement that every employee must receive independent legal advice before entering in to a settlement agreement – can make the whole process much more efficient for any employer looking at a mass redundancy programme.

Not only is the whole process more streamlined and efficient, individual employees can benefit from instructing a lawyer who is well acquainted with the facts and the wording of the agreement.

We can:

  • Arrange to meet multiple members of staff at their workplace over several days or weeks;
  • Provide advice in-situ regarding the terms and effects of settlement agreements, answering any questions and resolving any issues in their best interests;
  • Minimise disruption to the working day and provide consistency, making sure the same adviser handles the entire process;
  • Make the process significantly faster than several different law firms signing off settlement agreements for a large number of employees;
  • Work to pre-empt and prevent any possible glitches in the drafting of the agreement – removing common points of contention, for example, and thus minimising delays;
  • Offer ‘catch-up’ sessions to any employees unable to attend set advice days for whatever reason;
  • Potentially arrange to have all settlement agreements signed on your own premises over a day or two;
  • Offer a heavily discounted rate for representing each outgoing employee and with no charge for our travel time.

Getting it right

Settlement agreements are legally binding agreements between an employer and an employee. They are usually entered into shortly before or after the termination of a contract to allow a clean break, whereby the employee agrees to waive their right to make a claim against the employer in return for an agreed sum of compensation.

It is vital to ensure that settlement agreements comply with the relevant statutory requirements as not doing so could leave you as an employer exposed to a claim you thought had been settled.

It’s also important to remember that if you do nominate one legal firm to advise your employees, you must let your employees know of their right to instruct a different employment solicitor if they want to.

  • The Law Society has recently issued new guidance on the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in settlement agreements to make sure they balance someone’s right to disclose certain information – for example, to the police or a relevant regulatory body – with the need to draw the line under an acrimonious or sensitive issue.

If you are an employer looking at a mass redundancy exercise and would like to talk to Wards Solicitors about advising your employees on settlement agreements, please contact Solicitor Associate James Murray on 01934 413535.

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