Settlement Agreement Insolvency: What it means for Employers and Employees
Settlement agreements are legally binding agreements that are made between employers and employees to settle employment disputes. These agreements are typically used to resolve a range of issues, including claims of discrimination, unfair dismissal, and breach of contract. However, sometimes the financial stability of a company may be at risk and it could lead to insolvency. In the event of insolvency, the question arises as to what happens to the settlement agreement and the claims of the employee.
Settlement Agreement Insolvency
Insolvency occurs when a company is unable to pay its debts as they become due or when it has more liabilities than assets on its balance sheet. When a company enters into insolvency proceedings, its assets are liquidated, and the proceeds are used to settle its debts. However, settlement agreements are not treated in the same way as other debts and claims.
In the case of insolvency, the claims of employees who have entered into settlement agreements with their employer may not be paid in full. This is because settlement agreements are unsecured debts and are treated as a lower priority, after secured creditors and other debts.
The Priority of Claims in Insolvency Proceedings
When a company enters into insolvency, the priority of claims is determined by the Insolvency Act 1986. Secured debts, such as those secured by a fixed charge over the company`s assets, are given priority over unsecured debts. After secured creditors have been paid, the remaining assets are used to pay unsecured debts, which include agreements such as settlement agreements.
Employees who have entered into settlement agreements may then be entitled to a share of the remaining assets, but this will depend on how much is left after all secured creditors and other debts have been paid.
Reducing the Risk of Settlement Agreement Insolvency
Employers and employees can take steps to reduce the risk of settlement agreement insolvency. Employers should carefully consider their financial position before entering into a settlement agreement and seek appropriate legal and financial advice.
Employees should also seek independent legal advice before entering into a settlement agreement to ensure that they understand their rights and the potential risks involved.
In conclusion, settlement agreement insolvency can be a complex issue for both employers and employees. It is important for both parties to be aware of their rights and obligations in the event of insolvency proceedings, and to seek professional advice where necessary. Ultimately, settling employment disputes through a settlement agreement can be an effective way to avoid costly litigation, but careful consideration should be given to the potential risks involved.