Statutory minimum? Pah!

Your statutory minimum entitlement is easy to establish. But can you improve on it? Do you have any leverage? The answer to both questions is “yes” – provided you do some clever negotiating.


Statutory minimum? Pah!The inconceivable is happening all around us. Now, inconceivably, it’s your turn. The redundancy spotlight is on you.

In the consultation process you have had an advance outline of your likely package. Your statutory minimum entitlement is easy to establish (click here). But can you improve on it? Do you have any leverage? The answer to both questions is “yes” – provided you do some clever negotiating.

Take the position that you are not the party at fault. You are the casualty of market fluctuations your firm has failed to foresee. Your firm has failed to offer you alternative employment. You may even assert a failing by your firm in its professional development policies to ensure your skill-base to avoid exactly this situation. Hold onto your self-esteem. You have the moral high ground. So make use of it.

Remember and make the point that there is no such thing as a “standard package” – just as there is no such thing as a standard employee. Disdain the statutory minimum as an irrelevant concept – it is a safety net provided by the state to protect the vulnerable from exploitative employers. You – and your firm – are in a different league.

Take charge of the debate, but be dignified and realistic, and aim to part on good terms.

Outline your possible future.

– If you plan to stay in the profession but your skills are too narrrow – identify & request the provision of the re- training you seek.

– If a career change is on the cards – perhaps into teaching – evaluate the cost of the change and how long before you will start earning

– Identify the benefits you value in your current employment package – health and dental insurance, gym membership, discount entitlements and so on – and seek continuation of these for a period based on your re-employment prospects.

– Do your homework. Produce evidence of the packages firms similar to your have provided that come closest to the settlement you seek. Make it easy for your firm to show itself to be the most inventive, supportive and generous employer in these difficult times.

Remember: professional reputation is the life-blood of the legal profession – for employer and employee alike. There lies your leverage.

Geoffrey Hand is a director of Peer Professional Development Limited, a careers advisory to the legal profession.