How to negotiate an exit package - Paul Doran Law

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How to negotiate an exit package

How to negotiate an exit packageHow to negotiate an exit package

When your employer makes you a financial offer to resolve a grievance or as part of your exit package, you don’t have to accept the first deal they suggest – you can negotiate until you agree the best arrangement between you.

This is called a ‘settlement agreement’ (or ‘compromise agreement’ in Northern Ireland). As it’s a legal document, you have to take independent legal advice before you sign – that’s where we come in.

With Paul Doran Law, you’ll always know where you stand. For an affordable fixed fee, we can write a letter to your employer proposing an exit package or help you to prepare a grievance. 

Points to note

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ExitTips about negotiation

Negotiating an exit package is a skill. Here are some top tips to help:

What do you want to achieve?

If you’re still employed, you might like to keep your job but work different hours or in a different department. You could ask to move to a different role. Or perhaps you’d like to carry on working there for a defined period while you’re job-hunting.

If you’re on the point of resigning due to ill-treatment, ask us about timing, how to negotiate your exit package and what you might get. For example, your exit package should be enough to cover the time it will take you to get another job, any loss of earnings, your pension and other benefits.

“I was dreading the tribunal, but Chris Henshall was a constant calming and reassuring presence, he definitely gave me the confidence I needed to present my case. I certainly couldn’t have got through the day without him.

We will:

A good exit package will usually include compensation, plus a good reference to help you get another job. In return, your employer might want you to sign a non-disclosure agreement and agree not to work for a competitor for a defined period of time.

We’ll let you know how much you can expect, and suggest where there is room to manoeuvre.

FiredIf you have already resigned because of how you were treated, you might be able to claim for constructive dismissal, however, this can be hard to prove. There’s more information on this in our page about constructive dismissal.

“I can’t tell you how many times I would email Paul Doran Law saying, ‘I’m sorry if this is a stupid question…’ and they would reply saying there were no stupid questions and would break down the legal jargon.”
Caroline R

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How to decide

Deciding whether to stay or leave a job is a big decision. You need to consider whether you’ll suffer more work-related stress by staying or leaving. You should also assess the risk of being unemployed. What’s the job market like where you are? If it’s going to be hard for you to find a new job, you might have a stronger negotiating position.

Remember, it’s possible that the problem will be resolved and then you’ll be happy to stay.

Also remember it can be easier to get a new job while you are currently still employed.

Usual process

When there’s a problem at work, the first step is to address it informally – talk to your boss, a mentor, HR department, or trade union rep. We can advise, even at this stage.

If the issue isn’t resolved, you should then put in a formal grievance by following your usual workplace procedure. Again, we can help with this.

If that doesn’t fix things, ask us to write a fixed-fee letter for you.

The next step is to threaten to make a claim in the Employment Tribunal (note that there is a specific time period for claims, so you have to act quickly).

Paul DoranAbout us: At Paul Doran Law, we specialise in employment law – this includes settlement and severance matters as well as claims about equal pay, discrimination, unfair or constructive dismissal, and unpaid wages or holiday pay.

We’re on your side: We only act for employees who find themselves in a dispute with their employers.

About you: Whether you work for a multi-national corporation, public sector, private sector or small employer, we can help. We act for clients in Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.

Easy payment options: You’ll have a choice of ways to fund your claim, including no win, no fee. Often, your employer will pay our fee.

What next: Give us a call today for friendly, clear and honest advice about your case. The initial consultation is FREE and with no obligation.

Keep to the facts

If you’ve suffered stress and ill health due to what’s been going on in your workplace:

Explain your personal position:

Detail your contribution to your employer:

“Paul Doran Law explained all the different legislation. I was a ‘nervous Nellie’ and Montana Spence was great at explaining the process. She always replied to me by email or picked up the phone whenever things had gone quiet and I asked what was happening.”
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I quit

What this means to you

There are various situations where you might find yourself negotiating with your employer, such as:

Whatever the reason, it can be difficult and stressful trying to tackle the negotiations alone. People often feel emotional and vulnerable, and can even break down in tears. This is totally understandable, but weakens your negotiating position.

Of course, as an individual, you might only go through this experience once in your lifetime. You might worry that your employer has a big team, loads of expertise, and access to expensive (and possibly aggressive) lawyers.

That’s why it can help to trust independent experts (like us). We do this kind of work all the time. We have the skills and knowledge, understand the process, and know the best way of getting you a good outcome.

“I could tell that Paul Doran Law was a firm with a personal approach – not a call centre – as I could see the faces of all the associates.”
Lorraine J

Summary: Top 10 tips

  1. Gather all the relevant documents.

    These might include: your contract of employment, commission agreement, bonus agreement, shareholder’s agreement, share option scheme details, confidentiality agreement, intellectual property agreement and anything else. If you haven’t already got these documents on file, ask your HR Department to provide you with a copy.

  2. Consider the settlement offer carefully.

    You might want to discuss the offer with your partner and family to see how they feel. Maybe you could also talk to current and former colleagues – you might be able to find out whether the offer you’ve been given is standard offer or discover what negotiation strategy to expect. Also, talk to a specialist employment lawyer (like us) for professional advice about your situation and what to expect.

  3. Detail your financial requirements.

    For example, how much notice pay is due to you? Is there any holiday pay owing? What about commission and bonuses? If your role is being made redundant, what’s the statutory amount you’re entitled to? If you’ve been dismissed, what compensation are they offering? Is it £30,000 or less? If yes, that amount will be tax-free.

  4. Detail all the other benefits you want.

    Do you want to keep your company car, laptop and/or mobile phone? If your job included private medical insurance, perhaps you’d like it to be extended? Would you like a payment to cover training costs? If you’re a company director, will you still be covered by the directors’ insurance policy? Is there anything else your employer can offer that you want?
  5. Write your own reference.

    When you’re applying for a new job, it’s important that your past employers say nice things about you as a reference. This can potentially be awkward if the working relationship has broken down. Why not write what you’d like them to say, and use that as part of your negotiation? If you draft something appropriate and can agree the wording at an early stage, you’ll have that ready when you’re job-hunting.

  6. Stay open-minded.

Your employer might have ideas about things they can offer you or that they’d like from you which you haven’t thought of but that you’re willing to accept. Negotiating is a two-way conversation until you reach agreement about every little detail. Don’t feel rushed or pressured into making a decision. You’re allowed time to think about it.

  1. Don’t be too greedy.

    If you’re unreasonable about what you request, your employer might withdraw the offer. This would complicate matters and create additional legal fees. Take specialist advice about the best approach and you’ll get the best chance of achieving a fair and realistic outcome.

  2. Keep calm and carry on.

    Negotiating can be a tricky business. It’s always best to remain polite, clear and concise in all your communications. Stick to the facts. Leave emotion out of it. You don’t want to harm your credibility or antagonise your employer or their lawyers. You don’t want things to turn nasty (or nastier than they are already). Keep the moral high ground.

  3. Review the settlement agreement.

Get everything in writing and take time to read the details carefully. Once signed, this is the agreement you’re stuck with! Remember, part of the agreement is that you’re giving up your right to take your employer to the employment tribunal later, so you need to be sure you’re happy before you sign.

  1. Take specialist legal advice.

    Because a settlement agreement is a legal document, you have to take independent legal advice before you sign it (we can help with that). We’ll help you negotiate the best deal, and your employer will usually cover our costs. The sooner you talk to us, the better. The initial conversation is free and with no obligation.

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