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(16 Posts)
deploymentbeckons Thu 09-May-13 11:35:20


Can anyone advise if my compromise agreement is sufficient?

Had a meeting with HR, 2 days before I was due to return to work from a year of maternity leave with my first baby - they offered me a compromise agreement. Essentially a larger redundancy package.

How convenient for me? After registering my child at a nursery and paying the first months deposit and advance and countless interviews with childminders. Now i face indefinite unemployment.

HR keeps reminding me that the compromise agreement is essentially an option, and I can return to 'a position/role' even though it is not the right one for me. Knowing that your boss has already totted up your net worth on a agreement - doesn't make it appealing to return to work.

prh47bridge Thu 09-May-13 11:40:50

They should be paying your legal costs. It is in their interests to do so as the agreement is not binding on you unless you have had proper legal advice. Check that they will pay your costs then find a solicitor who specialises in employment law.

awwwwmannnn Thu 09-May-13 13:55:12

A lot would depend on the Compromise Agreement and what the covenants are in it, i.e. what restrictions are going to be placed on you with regards to the redundancy and alternative employment.

I would seriously question why this has only been done 2 days prior to your return to work. If redundancies are being made company wide, then a proper consultation period should be in place (usually about 3 months) during which time all employees who are potentially effected have meetings with the bosses/HR to discuss options and whether their jobs are at risk.

2 days is certainly not enough notice for you to make what is potentially a life changing decision and your employers are very much in the wrong for doing this - did you not have a back to work interview prior to your return??

if you are unable to pay for legal advice, check your home and contents insurance, a lot of these have provisions to pay for legal advice for employment matters - they are quite easy to spot in the policy - there will be a 24 hour helpline number where you can get proper advice from a solicitor who will advise you as to your best course of action, if they feel that a case can be made or they are able to help you, they will refer you to their panel solicitors who will take matters on for you, paid for by your insurance company.

Failing that, ring ACAS who are amazing and very knowledgeable...and free!!

hope this helps x

EasterHoliday Thu 09-May-13 14:03:42

It's the opening salvo in a negotiation. Now they have probably exposed themselves to an unfair dismissal claim already given teh way / timing they've approached this, even if everything has been without prejudice. If there's a maternity link, well of course there's also sex discrimination (unltd damages).
Given their clear position (why is the role "the wrong one for" you? is that their judgement or yours?), do you want to negotiate a package or are you determined to go back? If you do negotiate, those costs which you've incurred for nursery etc should be factored in because of the way they've timed their proposal.They should also be making a contribution towards your legal fees to negotiate and paper a compromise - have they offered that?
you should respond in writing wiht advice from a solicitor who can give you proper advice on the full facts. Do you think they've already offered your role to the maternity cover or failed to give her notice so that (s)he has gained employment protection by virtue of having been employed for a year?

(fwiw, standard position on a compromise here is 6 mths plus standard redundancy but the 6 mths is i think taxable - depends whether it's expressed as a settlement or payment in lieu etc)

mumblechum1 Thu 09-May-13 15:06:51

They must pay your legal fees for advice. Usually around £350-ish.

awwwwmannnn Thu 09-May-13 17:11:20

They don't have to pay your legal fees as a matter of course!
if you are going down the route of seeking solicitor's advice, when the matter is coming towards an end, you can ask that legal fees be paid as part of the Agreement, but they don't HAVE to pay them.


mumblechum1 Thu 09-May-13 18:04:51

ooops I stand corrected.

flowery Thu 09-May-13 18:08:00

No, you were right mumblechum. If the employer doesn't fund reasonable legal expenses for the employee to get a compromise agreement checked, it will not stand up.

awwwwmannnn Thu 09-May-13 18:36:04

sorry Mumblechum didn't mean to come across as pompus, that certainly wasn't my intention....apologies blush

the only reason i know is that i work in the world of law, and with a compromise agreement it is the person's own right to have independent legal advice, not a necessity. the costs are usually paid, but they are not a given xx

prh47bridge Thu 09-May-13 21:23:08

To be precise, the provisions relating to legal advice in the Employment Rights Act 1996 s203 are:

- the employee or worker must have received advice from a relevant independent adviser as to the terms and effect of the proposed agreement and, in particular, its effect on his ability to pursue his rights before an employment tribunal,

- there must be in force, when the adviser gives the advice, a contract of insurance, or an indemnity provided for members of a profession or professional body, covering the risk of a claim by the employee or worker in respect of loss arising in consequence of the advice,

- the agreement must identify the adviser

So the law doesn't specifically say the employer must pay for the employee's legal expenses. However, they would be foolish not to do so. If the employer is not paying the employee may choose not to take legal advice, in which case the agreement is only binding on the employer, not the employee.

mumblechum1 Thu 09-May-13 21:24:02

Awwwmannnn, no problem smile <<fellow lawyer but I don't do employment>>

deploymentbeckons Fri 10-May-13 10:31:01

Thanks for the advise so far everyone.

One thing was clear that they mentioned without prejudice.. this was an optional compromise agreement.

This is because they offered me a position to come back to, same pay and conditions but as I clearly explained to them in the back to work interview in Feb (!) , the role was not a good fit. They agreed.

They made an attempt to look for other roles, but none materialized. Then informed me that they are doing head count reviews and reducing contractors, and have made 2 redundancies. As HR put it, they had no other positions for me to consider at the moment unless someone resigned.

The way HR put it, 'Do I want to come back to the role on the table, knowing that all I want to focus on finding a different role?' And 'The person in the organization that does the role is need of a promotion and the can only promote that person if they have someone who could commit to the role' . Lots of in's and out's.

Lastly, I asked for flexibility in my return to work interview in Feb - and they declined stating that in this department, there is not anyone who could fill in/accommodate if I were away. Also starting earlier and finishing earlier would be outside of business hours- and I made an argument ie - I am on work BB/ able to WFH and on the go...
We're not manufacturing widgets- this a £17bn investment co.

Essentially the person in the role at present doesnt have a partner/children... just 100% committed to the company and the role all hours, any time of the day, even on holiday. Obviously I would never be able to commit to that.

They have offered me a recommended solicitor -(!) is that a bad thing? they will cover the first £500.

Also they mentioned some sort of help out of the door.. ie CV and interviewing help with another company?

deploymentbeckons Fri 10-May-13 10:33:48

I've said i've accepted the compromise agreement in principal - I need to review the package on paper. So they are drafting it up with legal teams

MOSagain Fri 10-May-13 10:37:21

I went on an employment law course last month run by a set of chambers in London and they clearly stated that the employers had to cover the employees costs of seeking legal advice on the CA

OP, do you want to carry on working for them? You have to consider this and how easy it would be to find another suitable role.

deploymentbeckons Fri 10-May-13 10:41:41

I've also spoken to ACAS - very helpful and knowledgeable.
I am keen to know what I could get included in the package.

How does one evaluate a staff's net value in a compromise agreemnt?

-6m net salary
-6m nursery fee (I was on the nursery's waiting list from Feb, and cant take the risk to give up the place as no guarantee if I do find another job within the 6 months i'll be able to get another place for my baby in nursery)
-6m Private healthcare payment
-6m Pension contribution
Loss of share scheme.. and savings scheme?

Will they just plainly refuse or much worse revoke the agreement?

deploymentbeckons Fri 10-May-13 10:47:33

MOS - I enjoyed working for them. Great Co. And i would have no problem with recommending anyone else who sought to work for them to really do so!

Emotionally i'm exhausted now.. - And would be too embarassing to look my intended boss in the face knowing that she's evaluated my contribution on a cheque.. to pay me off.... so No.. I've said to HR that I will not report for work on Monday

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