What is a settlement agreement?


During your teaching career you might be faced with deciding whether to sign a settlement agreement with your school or employer.

This is often when working relations between yourself and the school break down and both parties are looking to ‘settle’ on agreeable terms where possible.

Essentially, a settlement agreement is a legal contract between you and your school which you both have to adhere to.

Under the agreement, the teacher waives their right to make a claim to an employment tribunal on the matters specified in the agreement. We have produced another article which explains what employment tribunals are.

The employee waives these rights in the settlement agreement in exchange for a benefit, usually compensation and an agreed reference.

What are the key features of a settlement agreement?

  • They are legally binding
  • They are reached through a process of discussion and negotiation. The parties do not have to accept the terms initially offered – there may be a process of negotiation during which both sides make offers and counter offer
  • The employee, or former employee, usually receives some form of financial payment and will also often receive a reference as part of the agreed terms
  • They can waive an individual’s rights to bring a claim covered by the agreement, for example, the right to make a claim to an employment tribunal or court

What aspects do I need to consider?

If you are an Edapt subscriber, your caseworker will discuss your settlement agreement options with you and support you through the entire process. You will consider:

  • How strong your case is?
  • If you want to get your job back or keep your job with an agreement that your employer will make changes in your workplace
  • What else you could do if you don’t accept the offer

For additional information, ACAS has published comprehensive guidance on the topic of settlement agreements.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.