Banking on a good redundancy package? Don’t bet on it without a settlement agreement

THE importance of employees securing a good settlement agreement from their employers when facing redundancy has again come to the fore with the announcement of hundreds of job losses on our Leeds doorstep.

Looking out across Leeds city centre from our offices, we can see the major bases of both Barclays Bank and bookmakers William Hill – two significant employers.

So it was sad to read that for 280 staff working at Barclays Bank, and a further 4,500 people employed by William Hill nationwide, they enter the new year with the threat of redundancy hanging over them.

And for those employees negotiating a redundancy package, it’s an odds-on favourite that those who turn to expert employment lawyers to secure a robust settlement agreement will do best.

Employment law can be a complex legal minefield and to safeguard their position and protect their financial interests, it is vital that employees facing compulsory redundancy seek prompt legal advice.

For those Barclays Bank and William Hill staff in Leeds at risk from redundancy, employment lawyers can offer robust support by acting on their behalf in securing the most beneficial settlement agreements.

Settlement agreements are legally-binding documents between employer and employee, formerly known as compromise agreements.
Central to the settlement agreement is usually a payment by the employer to the employee, in return for an undertaking not to pursue any employment law claims in an employment tribunal or in court.

Under current employment law, either the employee can request a settlement agreement, or employer can offer one to bring a contract to an end on mutual terms.

They are sometimes offered in redundancy situations, like both the Barclays and William Hill scenarios.

It’s also important to point out that an employer will pay an element of legal costs in order for the employee to get the required legal advice on the settlement agreement to make it a binding legal offer.

This is normally sufficient to meet our costs subject to whether it is agreed or not or amendments are required.

At Barclays Bank, bosses at its Millshaw Court site in Beeston said 280 people would lose their jobs due to “changes in the business”, while 115 others would be redeployed.

At the same time as making the announcement, Barclays also confirmed the land had been put up for sale by the landlord with planning permission for a residential development.

BBC News reported that Barclays employs about 1,100 people at Millshaw, which deals with mortgage cases, lending operations and customer complaints.
Staff facing redundancy are from customer relations, technology and business change. The redundancy process is due to finish by June.
About 800 people will remain at the site, which is due to close altogether in November 2021.

Meanwhile, bookmaker William Hill – a major employer in Leeds with 1,300 staff in the city and a growing regional HQ here – is reportedly considering slashing the number of High Street betting shops as the government prepares to impose strict limits on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

The company has revealed that its profits have dropped by 15 percent over the past 12 months. Last November, the firm slashed its profit forecast due to the new restrictions on machines inside its high street stores.
It’s reported that the bookmaker is now considering closing some 900 stores across the country as a result of changes to FOBTs. It is claimed the reduced stakes will make previously profitable shops unprofitable.

The bookmaker has 2,300 stores in the UK but could see almost 40 percent of these close, at the cost of 4,500 jobs.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding settlement agreements (formerly known as compromise agreements), redundancy, or any other employment law-related issues, please do not hesitate to contact this article’s author, Chartered Legal Executive Danielle Symington, or other members of our Employment Law team here at Milners on 0113 245 0852 or email us at .

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