Settlement Agreements for Employers

A settlement agreement is a legally binding document that an employee and an employer sign in order to terminate an employment contract. It’s sometimes referred to as a ‘severance agreement’ or ‘compromise agreement’.

By signing a settlement agreement, the employer usually agrees to pay their former employee a sum of money. In return, the employee agrees not to take legal action against the employer.

These types of agreements are often used when making employees redundant as they provide a confidential and legal method for the employee and employer to part ways on agreed terms. Employers also use them to close claims of unfair dismissal or discrimination in the workplace.

What are the benefits of settlement agreements for employers?

A properly drafted settlement agreement is legally binding. You therefore won’t have to worry about your former employee making further demands in the future.

What’s more, as an employer, it’s usually more cost-effective for you to make an agreement with a current or former employee than to allow the dispute to reach an employment tribunal.

A specialist employment solicitor can advise you on how much a tribunal might award a disgruntled employee. This then enables you to make a judgment on what kind of lump sum to offer for a settlement agreement instead.

How do settlement agreements work?

A specialist employment lawyer will usually draft a settlement agreement. They offer a way to resolve employment disputes or head off potential employment disputes, and can be offered to an employee who has raised an issue, such as accusations of unfair dismissal. It can also be used where there is the potential for a claim, e.g. when making someone redundant.

For a settlement agreement to be legally binding, it must:

  • Be in writing
  • Relate to a specific issue or issues, i.e. it cannot be a blanket agreement for the employee not to bring an employment claim for any reason
  • Only be signed by the employee after they have taken independent advice from a lawyer or certified, authorised trade union member
  • Identify the employee’s adviser
  • State the statutory conditions regulating the agreement

You will need to give the employee an appropriate amount of time to consider the agreement before signing. Acas recommends a minimum of 10 days for this.

Get in touch with our settlement agreement solicitors in Bristol

Our employment solicitors advise employers and business owners all over the UK, from our six offices across Bristol and the surrounding area in Bedminster, Bishopston, Clifton, Kingswood, Queen Square and Thornbury.

For more information on how to negotiate a successful settlement agreement, or to speak to our employment lawyers, call us on 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.


    How can we help you?

    We’re here to help. Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Or call us on 0117 325 2929.

    • "Barcan+Kirby provided me with a prompt service in a time of great need for a quick response. They were supportive and reassuring, keeping me updated throughout the progress of my case."
      NeilEmployment Client
    • "I found Barcan+Kirby extremely professional and knowledgeable, and they were able to provide the service I required swiftly. They were extremely good value for money and I would certainly use them again in the future for similar service."
      AnonEmployment Client
    • "Employment law can be technical and confusing, especially where there is an overlapping personal injury element. Samantha made me aware of the salient points in relation to both aspects so I could understand the overall picture."
      AnonEmployment Client
    • "I would highly recommend Samantha Castle to anyone, she is understanding, commercially aware and gets the job done to a high level - you will regret not calling her!"
      AnonEmployment Client
    • "Legal matters were dealt with efficiently and expertly. I was kept up to date about progress and developments, and all deadlines were met."
      AnonEmployment Client