What can UK oil and gas employees expect in 2016?

Reflecting on the last 18 months in the Energy industry gives perspective on just how many companies, jobs and, most importantly, families have been affected by the drop in the price of natural resources such as crude oil.

Those accustomed to working offshore or providing the invaluable support services, equipment and machinery are equally at risk. The difficult burden faced by employers is to cut costs on a large scale, while protecting their legitimate business interests, contacts and employees. Redundancies are inevitable.

As we enter into a New Year, many of the biggest players are bracing themselves for a rocky start to the New Year with The Guardian identifying tens of thousands of further job cuts across the oil and gas sectors in 2016.  Acclimatising to the reduction in the price in crude oil is a thankless task. The reported failing of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to reach any positive agreement in their 168th meeting suggest that 2016 will continue to grapple with the challenges of the past year.

Large employers impacted by the downturn are rightly being advised to ensure their employees’ are properly informed and consulted with regards to risks to their jobs.  However, there are limited employee–focused legal services available to the thousands of employees likely to face redundancy situations in the next year, including those able to advise on the increasingly common offering of settlement agreements.

Settlement agreement legal advice for oil and gas employees

A settlement agreement is a legally binding agreement that sets out the terms of a settlement between an employer and employee. They will include a severance package and any other conditions such as not being able to work for a rival firm for a period of time.

Before signing a settlement agreement, an employee must seek legal advice and because of this, many employers will make a contribution to employee’s legal fees.

As part of a settlement agreement, you can receive a one-off payment which is tax free up to the first £30,000, an agreed reference, payment of bonus or incentives and clauses to protect an employers’ reputation.

Contact the right settlement agreement lawyers

Digby Brown is independent to employers within the oil and gas industry and we can offer bespoke and experienced legal advice to employees in this sector on the terms and effect of Settlement Agreements.

We will review the terms of your settlement agreement and explain all the clauses to you to make sure you are happy with the agreement. If you would like to make changes, we can negotiate on your behalf. This can be done over the phone, through video conferencing – whatever suits you best.

Our team of specialist employment solicitors across Scotland have a wealth of experience obtaining excellent outcomes for all levels of offshore and onshore workers within the oil and gas sphere.

Our advice and representation will assist in protecting your future employment prospects, as well as making sure your financial interests are well looked after.

Case example: negotiate terms of settlement agreement to get you the best result

Our employment solicitors at Digby Brown recently helped negotiate the terms of a settlement agreement for an oil and gas worker based in Houston who was employed by a Scottish oil company in Aberdeen.

As part of the original agreement, it restricted him from working for another inspection or rope access company in the US, Brazil or UK and that he could not contact their customers for a period of 12 months.

Our client felt these terms were not fair as it essentially meant he could not work for 12 months as his experience and qualifications were in this field and he did not want to change careers. Furthermore, due to the nature of the oil and gas industry, companies are competing within the same space for the same customers so it would be impossible to not communicate with a customer of his former employers.

Our employment solicitors negotiated on these terms to ensure our client could work for a similar company in the US or Brazil, giving him the opportunity to openly work for another company and not restrict him from progressing with his career.

Our client was very happy with the outcome and commented:

“Trying to obtain re-employment within the oil and gas industry would have been impossible without the help of Digby Brown employment solicitors to help in my job search without restrictions.”

Contact our employment solicitors on 0333 200 5925 or email Employment.Enquiry@digbybrown.co.uk to discuss your Settlement Agreement today.