Forming the foundation of the employment relationship you have with your employees is vital
A contract of employment is the beginning of a relationship between the employer and employee. It is integral that the employment contract accurately sets the scene and expectation of both parties for the duration of the term.
It is important to have well-drafted employment contracts as an employer as this forms the foundation of the employment relationship you have with your employees.
Drafting employment contracts at the start can prevent time-consuming disputes later on. Additionally, it can also reduce the risk of grievances as each party is aware of their rights and duties. Therefore, should any issues arise, drafting well written policies can assist to effectively manage the issue to achieve resolution.
Whether you are looking to update existing contracts or whether you are looking at drafting completely new ones our dedicated Employment law team not only has the knowledge of employment contracts but also the experience of implementing new ones, as well as changing contracts for organisations across a very broad range of industries.
Important things to consider:
- We can recommend contractual terms to make your life easier and protect your position as an employer. For example, deductions from wages, payment in lieu of notice, garden leave etc. We can review and update your contracts.
- As an employer you may make changes to an employee’s contract of employment however you must inform and consult with the employees regarding the proposed changes. You must give the employee a written statement containing details of the change at the earliest opportunity. It must be no later than one month after the change.
- It’s best practice to support contracts of employment with an Employee Handbook. This outlines the organisation’s position in relation to areas such as company cars, sickness, whistleblowing, conduct, appraisals etc.
Support and guidance with every stage
Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 states:
“Where an employee begins employment with an employer, the employer shall give to the employee a written statement of particulars of employment.”
“The statement must be given no later than 2 months after the beginning of the employee’s employment.”
- It is a useful tool for managing staff effectively;
- It prevents misunderstandings;
- Employees will know what is expected of them; and
- Failing to issue a written contract prevents you from specifying rules or conditions to which your employees must adhere.
- Name of employer and employee;
- The date the employee’s employment commenced;
- The date on which the employee’s continuous employment began;
- Pay and the intervals at which remuneration is paid (weekly/monthly);
- Hours of work;
- Holiday entitlement;
- Holiday pay;
- Job title or a brief description of the work the employee is employed to do;
- Sick leave and pay entitlements;
- Pensions and pension schemes;
- Notice periods;
- How long employment is meant to last and also the date when it is to end;
- Job location;
- Whether any collective agreements affect the terms and conditions of employment; &
- If required to work outside the UK for a period of more than 1 month:
- The period for which they have to work outside the UK;
- The currency in which remuneration will be paid;
- Any additional remuneration payable to them and benefits; and
- Any terms and conditions relating to their return to the UK.
If you fail to provide a written contract of employment an employee can make a claim to the Employment Tribunal. A failure to provide a contract can lead to an award of 2-4 weeks’ pay compensation in the Employment Tribunal. An employee cannot bring a standalone claim for a failure to provide a written contract of employment.
Common problems for failing to provide a contract of employment include:
- Disgruntled/unhappy employees;
- Absence from work;
- Poor morale;
- Poor employee relations;
- Loss productivity;
- Poor performance;
- Damage to reputation; and
- Tribunal claims.