If you become sick through a medical condition or a problem which prevents you from working, your employer may decide to offer you a settlement agreement. However, they will normally only do this if you have been off sick for some time, usually for several months or even years.

The law on ill-health related absence and disability discrimination has become very complex so you should certainly speak to us if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation. We can provide you with the expert advice you need to protect your position fully and negotiate the best deal possible, should that be necessary.

Some employers run contractual schemes as part of staff benefits packages which entitle employees to permanent health insurance (PHI). The terms of such schemes vary greatly and we can check the relevant insurance policy wording to see what you are actually entitled to before you make any decisions about signing a settlement agreement. In some circumstances, it may not be in your interests to sign a settlement agreement and it is crucially important that you properly understand your legal rights and entitlements first.

It is worthwhile checking to see if you are entitled to any form of ill-health retirement or ill-health pension benefits as well. Again, we can check the wording of any policy for you. These benefits can be extremely valuable and in some cases we may advise you not to sign a settlement agreement.

Lastly, you may also be entitled to separate critical illness cover through your employment and you should explore this before signing a settlement agreement. Once you have signed a settlement agreement, you will normally have signed away the majority of your legal rights and, therefore, could lose the right to claim under such a policy.

Please refer to one of our earlier blogs for further information about issues to consider when deciding whether to sign a settlement agreement or issue employment tribunal proceedings.