Rights and payments at an ET(6 Posts)
New account for this. My employer has messed up and has not followed correct procedure for making me redundant. Cut and dry. I knew this but was happy to go along with it because I wanted out and not the options that could/should have been offered instead for instance a different location or hours. I didn't say this and just went along with it. They were going to give me my full redundancy pay and I'm confident their reference will be fine. I think they've realised they've messed up and I can go to an ET and have now given me a settlement agreement instead. They have said it's so I don't have to work out my notice because they know it can be uncomfortable and they want me to be able to pick up Christmas temp work which would be longer than my notice period if I want it but if I work out my notice I won't. I work in a shop. I know they could just pay me for my notice period plus my redundancy but they have made it complicated and more expensive time and money wise with a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement they've proposed is my wages for my notice period, plus the redundancy and a bit to say I'm not allowed to talk about it and a bit to say I can't take them to court. Looking online the section about me taking them to court seems standard. They don't say anything about breaching my employment rights. I was happy with my redundancy and am happy with the settlement payment they have suggested but am wondering if I should try to negogiate more. Neither is huge but as long as I budget I will be OK financially for a while and I think I should be able to get a permanant job within a few months although I won't have the generous holiday allowance or pension and I don't think I'll get the hours I want. I think that if that is their first offer they must have more set aside. I don't want to sound greedy. How to I know what to ask them for? If I said no to the settlement agreement and went to an ET is there a way of knowing how much I would get as a comparison? I know it is difficult and there is no guarentee with an ET but my case is cut and dry. Would any ET payment be affected by accepting the redundancy payment? I can afford a lawyer to look over the final settlement agreement but not to negogiate for me or look as proposed agreements because that would eat into my settlement a lot and that seems silly. I hope I made sense.
Your employer should pay for you to get legal advice so that it doesn't eat into the settlement. If they don't and you sign the agreement without advice it is not binding on you. Check that they will pay your lawyer then find a lawyer who specialises in employment law and ask them your questions.
Looking online it is good practice for an employer to pay some fees for a lawyer to look over the agreement but it is not obligatory. It is only necessary for a lawyer to sign the final agreement which I will arrange as I said. They don't have to be involved in the whole thing.
No, it is not obligatory for the employer to pay. However, you can almost certainly force the issue by refusing to take legal advice unless your employer pays. If they refuse to pay you could sign it without legal advice. It would be then be binding on your employer but not on you.
The reason for a company to agree to pay the legal fees for a solicitor to review your Settlement Agreement and advise you if if is fair and reasonable is that the employer will want it to be a clean break with no comeback. The solicitor you choose can tell you their fee and you can ask your employer if they will bear the cost. They normally agree nowadays because of the implications of a future claim, cost wise.
For the outline you've given, what they are offering sounds reasonable, but you need to get a print of it and get a solicitor to review before you sign.
For a settlement agreement to be legally binding you need a solicitor to take a look at it. It is common practice (although not a legal one) for the employee to contribute/pay for this. Typically £250 would do it but if you chose to go to a really expensive lawyer then you’d pay the difference. The solicitor has to also sign the agreement to confirm that it is reasonable from a legal point of view.
If that is not part of the settlement agreement, make it so.
The solicitor will also advise you on your rights and whether you have a case, and how strong that case may be. It would be at that point I’d consider negotiating and get the solicitor to do that for you. I’m usually at the other end of those phone calls and I’m always prepared to up the offer so ensure the company give me additional budget to do so.
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