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Pushed to settlement agreement and garden leave?

Hi
This is my first post so any help appreciated. I've looked through the forums but couldn't find anything similar so sorry if this has been covered before.

I have worked as a teacher and now leader for 21 years with an exemplary record. I was told my post would probably be made redundant and would I like to settle to avoid this. This was a complete shock. Can they do this my contract is old ( they never got me to sign a new one when I joined SMT) and does not mention redundancy, garden leave or PILON etc.

I am being offered:
a tax free lump sum statutory payment
PILON
Any outstanding hols
Reference
Sign a settlement agreement
Termination date end of Feb

I queried this and got my continuous service up and now they are offering garden leave until June instead of PILON.

Am I being short changed? Is garden leave better then PILON or is there some funny business they could do whilst on garden leave? Will I still accrue hols on garden leave? There are rumours of merger and they keep saying they want the settlement agreement done by the end of Feb.

I am so stressed I don't know what to do...any advice appreciated should I just settle and go on garden leave?

Cheers everyone
Halftermholsman

Replies

  • UndervaluedUndervalued Forumite
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    Hi
    This is my first post so any help appreciated. I've looked through the forums but couldn't find anything similar so sorry if this has been covered before.

    I have worked as a teacher and now leader for 21 years with an exemplary record. I was told my post would probably be made redundant and would I like to settle to avoid this. This was a complete shock. Can they do this my contract is old ( they never got me to sign a new one when I joined SMT) and does not mention redundancy, garden leave or PILON etc.

    I am being offered:
    a tax free lump sum statutory payment
    PILON
    Any outstanding hols
    Reference
    Sign a settlement agreement
    Termination date end of Feb

    I queried this and got my continuous service up and now they are offering garden leave until June instead of PILON.

    Am I being short changed? Is garden leave better then PILON or is there some funny business they could do whilst on garden leave? Will I still accrue hols on garden leave? There are rumours of merger and they keep saying they want the settlement agreement done by the end of Feb.

    I am so stressed I don't know what to do...any advice appreciated should I just settle and go on garden leave?

    Cheers everyone
    Halftermholsman

    For a settlement agreement to be valid you have to receive independent legal advice. It is normal (although not obligatory) for the employer to pay a sum of money towards this.

    Yes, with garden leave you would still accrue holiday as you are technically still employed. You cannot therefore work for anybody else during that time without your employer's agreement. In theory you could be called back in at any time during the garden leave.

    With PILON you are no longer employed and therefore do not accrue holiday and are completely free to work for somebody else during what would have been your notice period.
  • getmore4lessgetmore4less Forumite
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    Nothing in that for you so why would you accept?

    Everything is what you would get with the normal redundancy process and not have to sign away your rights.

    Are there no agreements for a better than statutory redundancy packages for teachers.

    if there are rumors of changes they are trying to get round doing redundancies

    if there are enough there could compulsory consultation before letting people go so they will save money if they get people to quit.
  • halftermholsmanhalftermholsman Forumite
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    Thanks for replying yes that's what I thought. They have been trying to make me feel uncomfortable at work for the last couple of months...now I know why. It would take them longer to go down the capability route as they have nothing on me. I suppose the only benefit to me is garden leave would be from immediate effect so 5 months pay for no work? If I return I'm sure they will make my life horrible and stressful...that is what has been hinted at. Feel pretty trapped to accept as they have said they will not up the lump sum. I have a lot of annual leave left can they force me to take it whilst on garden leave or can I have it as a lump sum at the end of June?
  • UndervaluedUndervalued Forumite
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    Thanks for replying yes that's what I thought. They have been trying to make me feel uncomfortable at work for the last couple of months...now I know why. It would take them longer to go down the capability route as they have nothing on me. I suppose the only benefit to me is garden leave would be from immediate effect so 5 months pay for no work? If I return I'm sure they will make my life horrible and stressful...that is what has been hinted at. Feel pretty trapped to accept as they have said they will not up the lump sum. I have a lot of annual leave left can they force me to take it whilst on garden leave or can I have it as a lump sum at the end of June?

    Yes, they could.

    With very few limits an employer can dictate when you must take your holiday. On garden leave, as I said, you are still an employee.

    Obviously you may be able to negotiate a deal where you don't take the holiday and are paid for it but that is, in effect, just a bigger settlement.

    As the other poster has said, the fall back is statutory redundancy. Obviously that would leave you free to claim unfair dismissal, if you could show that the redundancy wasn't genuine. Once you sign a settlement agreement that option has gone. The solicitor (if you go down the SA route) will advise you if there is a realistic chance that is worth investigating. Are you a member of a union? What is their view?
  • getmore4lessgetmore4less Forumite
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    is it a term time contract?

    Don't those have terms that holiday cannot be taken during term time. and are distributed throughout the non term time weeks.

    Are they effectively making the end date end of year?

    if you are term time and paid Sept-Sept evenly over 12 months make sure they don't try to short change you by only paying to JUne.
  • davemortondavemorton Forumite
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    I find it very hard to believe that as a teacher, you are not in a union. If you are, use them, its what you paid your subs for, if you are not, was it worth saving that £15-25 a month?
    “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”
    Juvenal, The Sixteen Satires
  • lulu650lulu650 Forumite
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    Your posts are confusing. If this is a genuine redundancy why are you mentioning capability?

    You've said that you've been offered a statutory payment, accrued holiday leave and a termination date of either February or June, so I assume you work in a college? If this is redundancy, then it would appear that you are in a pool of one. That is, it's only you affected.

    Gardening leave allows pension contributions to still be made which is always advantageous. An agreed reference is good as it allows you to see and to have input into that.

    If you don't like the offer then go down the normal redundancy route. If another similar post comes up, perhaps someone resigning, then you should be offered that post instead of redundancy.

    Your decision at the end of the day
    Saving money right, left and centre
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