The Government has announced plans to introduce “settlement agreements’ designed to make it easier for employers to address work-place disputes and to encourage employees to leave in return for an agreed pay-off.
The Government’s intention seems to be to create a simplified version of a compromise agreement, already readily used by a number of employers, as it considers maximised use of settlement agreements will make it easier for employers to manage change in the workplace and focus on development and growth. In particular the focus is on providing employers with the confidence to discuss performance issues with their employees without the fear of legal action.
However, this does not appear to be any different to what is actually happening in practice and already utilised by employers. I have already seen that this has been widely described as little more than a name change for compromise agreements.
It may of course give some employers a little more confidence in trying to broker such exit discussions with their employees, however employees would still continue to benefit from their employment rights and they can choose to reject the offer of a settlement agreement and proceed to a tribunal.
If you require employment advice, including advice regarding employment law, the termination of employment, settlement agreements or employment tribunal proceedings, please do not hesitate to contact us.
By Victoria Mitchell, Employment Lawyer in Lancashire