Employment Contracts – Know the Facts

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Employment Contracts – Know the Facts

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In a litigious world where contracts are even being drawn up for personal relationships, it has become more important than ever for employers to protect both their business and their employees by clearly defining the terms and conditions of employment.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 section 1 obliges an employer to provide employees with a written statement that sets out the main terms of employment.   In addition to this legal obligation, another reason why employers should take the time to put together a contract is the fact that statutory employment law applies where there is no contract, and this is weighted in favour of the employee.

By law, a contract should provide employees information about the following policies:

  • Health and safety (necessary if there are more than five employees),
  • Grievance
  • Disciplinary and dismissal

In addition to this, some of the other topics that an employee’s handbook or contract should include are:

  • Job title and description of roles
  • Salary (must be above the national minimum wage)
  • Place of work
  • Working hours, overtime, breaks and holiday entitlement  (must comply with Working Time Regulations)
  • Maternity, paternity, adoption, parental and shared parental leave (it is a legal requirement to make statutory payments)
  • Leaving policy and notice period
  • Pension
  • Holiday entitlement
  • Sickness policy
  • Equal opportunities (in addition to not discriminating, employers are also obliged to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees, and must not allow any harassment or bullying to take place in the workplace)
  • Travel expenses
  • Dress code
  • Details of company benefits
  • Rules and regulations (relating to drugs, alcohol, smoking and e-cigarettes, as well as personal email and internet usage)

Being used between landlords and tenants, banks and lenders, and even Fifty Shades of Grey literary lovers Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, contracts have become such an important part of 21st century life that some couples even use consent contracts before embarking on a personal relationship.  It is for this reason that employees will expect their employer to draw up a contract and provide a handbook before they start employment.

If you would like advice on putting together an employee contract and handbook, please contact Ami Jones on 01656 630 010 or drop an email to people@aible.co.uk.

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