Amicable Exits

There are a number of situations where it can prove beneficial to agree on the amicable exit of an employee as opposed to exploring disciplinary or redundancy proceedings.

However, this can be a complex process and should be handled carefully to ensure any pitfalls are avoided. This is something our HR Business Partners can help you with.

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Some reasons you may need outsourced HR advice regarding amicable exits include:

  • You require impartial advice from external professionals on how to negotiate an amicable agreement that is in the best interests of your business
  • You want to ensure the process is fair and that you are not at risk of future claims being made against you
  • You do not have a dedicated HR team to advise you on amicable exits and settlement agreements
  • Your current HR team does not have the capacity, or lack the specialist skills to handle challenging amicable exits or settlement agreements

Our HR Business Partners will be available to support you, no matter what your current circumstances are or what you are looking to achieve. We can meet with clients in person or virtually to provide a convenient, accessible service.

Benefits of working with our HR Business Partners

  • Understand exactly what your legal position is and the most suitable option for an amicable exit
  • Clarify what the process will look like
  • Reduce the risk of contentious exits, which can lead to employment claims
  • Avoid the potential for future HR problems by having robust procedures in place

Here are just a few of the things we can help with:

As part of our employee exit management services, our HR Business Partners can assist with matters including:

Don’t see what you are looking for on this list? Our HR Business Partners have a wide range of expertise and will be in a strong position to provide clear guidance on the majority of issues that employers find themselves facing.

Speak to our amicable exit solicitors today

If you’re looking for outsourced HR advice on amicable exits, get in touch with our experts today.

Contact us on 0131 270 7700, visit our offices in EdinburghGlasgowEast Lothian or Shetland or fill in our enquiry form at the bottom of the page to request a call back.

Our amicable exit expertise

‘Off the record conversations’

Sometimes, it is better for all concerned that an employee leaves the business. In many cases there is no misconduct or redundancy at play, but the relationship has simply broken down. An exit can often be achieved amicably, but employers don’t always know where to start the conversation.

A careless conversation might form part of the evidence against an employer if a claim is brought. There have been cases where employees have secretly recorded conversations using their mobile telephone and been permitted to present the recordings as evidence in Tribunal.

There are circumstances in which it can be possible to have a ‘protected’ conversation or a ‘without prejudice’ conversation which have to remain ‘off the record’. But simply saying to an employee that the conversation is ‘off the record’ or ‘without prejudice’ is not enough. There are various rules that apply if an employer wants to ensure that a conversation remains off the record, which is where the expertise of our HR Business Partners will prove invaluable.

Exit negotiations

Depending upon the circumstances, it’s possible that a decision will be recorded in a letter.  This will either be a resignation letter, or a letter prepared by the employer to record what has been agreed.

Many HR consultants have a knee jerk reaction that the agreement must be recorded in a formal settlement agreement (previously called a compromise agreement). However, there are times when that kind of formality is both unnecessary and potentially unhelpful.

Our HR Business Professionals regularly advise employers on how to start the conversation, how to reach agreement and how best to put that agreement in writing. For clients who we visit most regularly, we are often involved in having that conversation directly with the employee. Negotiating exit terms can help to keep the situation amicable and minimise the risk of an employment claim.

Settlement agreements

Sometimes it is crucial for an employer to have the certainty that comes with a formal written settlement agreement, especially when dealing with negotiated departures. Settlement agreements are written agreements whereby an employee is paid a sum of money in exchange for formally agreeing not to bring an employment claim against the employer.

Settlement agreements are voluntary and can be offered at any time during the employment relationship or afterwards. Both parties may view a settlement agreement as a way of making a clean break from the employment relationship, but they can also be used as a means of resolving an ongoing dispute in the workplace with an employee who remains employed.

A settlement agreement is one of the few means to legally prevent an employee or worker from pursuing certain statutory claims against an employer such as unfair dismissal and discrimination. Most other attempts to waive such claims even by written agreement are not legally enforceable. A settlement agreement gives both parties some certainty. Where an employee leaves their employer or is dismissed, the employer knows what claims have been waived by the settlement agreement.

The contents of the settlement agreement are usually confidential. Agreements can also include a provision which states that neither party can make derogatory comments about the other. This can be particularly important as careless or malicious comments on social media can prove to be very damaging.

For the settlement agreement to be valid, the employee must have received independent legal advice. There are a number of other specific requirements in a settlement agreement to ensure that it is valid.  It should therefore be prepared by a professional. Using a template and assuming that it will be valid in every case can result in problems in enforcing the agreement.

What is an exit package?

In the UK, an exit package may be agreed as part of an amicable exit. It generally refers to the amount an employee will be paid on exiting a business, as well as any benefits that might be agreed e.g. private health insurance continuing for a fixed period. Exit package negotiations will often form a key part of an employee leaving a business on an amicable basis.

How much an employee receives as part of a settlement can depend on a number of factors. These factors include the following:

  • What occurred throughout the course of the employment
  • The employee’s personal circumstances
  • How the employee and employer approach the negotiation
  • The validity of any potential claim the employee may have e.g. for constructive dismissal
  • The reason(s) for the employment coming to an end
  • Whether the employee has done anything wrong
  • How averse to risk either party is and
  • The contents of the employee’s contract.

Typically, the following are included in a settlement agreement:

  • Salary to the Termination Date
  • Holiday pay
  • Compensation payment
  • Notice pay
  • Contribution towards the employee’s legal fees

Settlement agreements can also give an employee a right to income protection, and other benefits such as health insurance, company cars, IT equipment such as phones or laptops, and an entitlement to shares.

The employer may agree to give the employee a reference and, if so, the agreement might state what is to be included in the reference. There might also be agreement on what is to be said to colleagues regarding the employee’s departure from the business.

Why work with us?

  • Decades of specialist employment law and HR expertise for a wide range of clients
  • Strong skills in amicably resolving employment disputes
  • High level experience with Employment Tribunal claims
  • A complete service for all aspects of employment law and HR

Speak to our amicable exit solicitors today

If you’re looking for outsourced HR advice on managing exiting employees, get in touch with our experts today.

Contact us on 0131 270 7700, visit our offices in EdinburghGlasgowEast Lothian or Shetland or fill in our enquiry form at the bottom of the page to request a call back.