The service that is designed to keep you in control of your HR and your business.
Under our Total Legal Care (TLC) service, we offer a complete package at a fixed fee advising on all aspects of Employment Law and HR.
Our dedicated employment lawyers are on hand to assist your business through the fast paced and ever-changing landscape of employment law, guiding you through the maze of regulation and red tape.
- Designed to protect your business
- Back by a dedicated and highly skilled Employment Law team
- Comprehensive Legal Advice ‘on tap’
- 24×7 access to a named employment lawyer
- We take a true partnership approach
- Free document review available, just ask us today
Designed to Protect You
There is an increasing trend for individuals to make exaggerated, frivolous or bogus employment claims, no matter how well your business is run.
We will help you to protect your business from such claims, using all the vast legal expertise at our disposal.
The package is also available with insurance to cover any financial awards against you at Tribunal, should the matter get that far.
Dedicated Point of Contact
We know how important continuity is, which is why you’ll enjoy direct access to a named, qualified employment lawyer who will support you in all aspects of your day-to-day employment law needs. Whenever you need them.
Value for Money
We offer a flexible range of payment solutions to fit your requirements and budgets.
We pride ourselves on the exceptional value for money we offer clients compared to traditional city centre law firms.
The Support You Need
Oakwood Solicitors’ TLC Package provides you with complete support by a team of dedicated employment lawyers (not untrained HR representatives like some services on the market) enabling you to focus on the important thing – running your business.
It’s not only the support you need, but support when you need it, which is why we also give you access to lawyers out of hours should an urgent situation arise – we appreciate not all business work to a strict 9-5.
Our complete service
We will also provide your business with:
- A complete overhaul of your contracts of employment, and policies and procedures included in your staff handbook if necessary, or we can simply amend and update these if necessary
- Introducing and managing changes to the contracts of employment and your staff handbook
- Full assistance with internal grievance and disciplinary matters
- Defending all types of Employment Tribunal claim
- Redundancies – implementing a fair and proper redundancy exercise
- TUPE – advise on your obligations under this complex legislation – whether buying or selling a business.
Plus, lots, lots more
We are happy to undertake a preliminary audit of your contract of employment and associated employment documents, free of charge.
Interested in learning more? Contact our Head of Employment (Ian Abel) or call us on 0113 200 9728.
In order to enter into an agreement, the employment must have been terminated. It is, therefore, important to ascertain what the actual date of termination of employment was. This is important because the negotiations could take a while to be finalised. If they are not finalised before the limitation date for a claim to be issued, then the employee will lose the right to claim in the Employment Tribunal for claims such as unfair dismissal, and unlawful deduction of wages.
As it is mandatory that employees obtain independent legal advice on settlement agreements, the law stipulates that the employer must pay for this advice. Commonly, the fee is anywhere between £150 and £500 depending on the complexity of the agreement and the work involved.
Oakwood Solicitors are experts in advising on settlement agreements.
We are able to check the agreement for you, advise you on whether any changes should be made to it, and discuss the consequences of signing it.
Settlement Agreement: The Law and You (Employment Rights Act 1996)
As stated above, the Employment Rights Act 1996 explains what a settlement agreement is, and what it should and should not include. Such an agreement is a binding contract between an employer and former employee to settle actual or potential Employment Tribunal claims. We have listed, above, the six requirements required in order for a settlement agreement to be valid.
Contractual and common law rights are capable of being waived without the need for an agreement. Pension rights can only be waived in a few instances.
Statutory rights (apart from the four exclusions below) can only be waived via a settlement agreement. This means that claims relating to unfair dismissal, discrimination, redundancy payments, minimum wage protection etc, can be waived. The effect of such an agreement is that an employee would no longer be able to pursue a claim for the rights that have been waived in the Employment Tribunal.
Exclusions to Settlement Agreements
There are four circumstances in which statutory rights cannot be waived through a Settlement Agreement. They are as follows:-
- Some claims under Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, where there has been a failure to make the appropriate consultations/representations on collective redundancies;
- Some claims under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, including where there has been a failure to inform/consult with employees about a forthcoming transfer of employment, or a failure to pay compensation under the Regulations;
- Claims for a breach of Regulations 5, 6 and 9 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010;
- The right to statutory maternity/paternity pay or adoption pay.
Restrictive Covenants and Settlement Agreements
Employees should make sure that no post-termination restrictive covenants are introduced into a settlement agreement unless they have already agreed to this in their contract of employment. Where the contract does contain pre-existing restrictive covenants, employees can consider negotiating with their employers for a variation, or waiver, of these in the settlement agreement so that they are less onerous.
It is, however, still possible for settlement agreements to include restrictive covenants where these are agreed with the employee. In these cases, the former employee must receive payment for agreeing to the new contractual term. This payment is subject to taxation.
Important Tax implications
Once a settlement has been reached, there are further issues to consider. The basic tax position is that the first £30,000 is tax free. This has some exceptions, which are complex and on which expert advice should be obtained. In brief, they include:-
- Foreign service payments may only obtain partial tax exemption;
- If the HMRC feels that the amount is excessive for the claim settled under the agreement;
- Payments for outstanding wages, restrictive covenants (as above), notice pay, and holiday pay, for example, are taxable.
Employment claims generally have a very strict deadline, or limitation period. If you wish to enter into a settlement agreement, then you should obtain legal advice quickly upon termination of your employment. Protective proceedings should be commenced if the settlement agreement negotiations cannot be finalised within the limitation period, which is usually three months from the date of dismissal, or the occurrence of a discriminatory act; although this would depend on the facts of each case.
Entering into a settlement agreement can have serious consequences, which is why employees are required to seek independent legal advice before entering into such an agreement. We can assist you with negotiating a settlement agreement, along with advising you in relation to the relevant requirements and technicalities involved.
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