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THE FOUNDATION FOR GOOD STAFF RELATIONS

Whilst it may be a nice notion to seal the deal with a “my word is my bond” handshake the reality is that a formal contract of employment is the only way to assure both the employer and employee are adequately protected in matters of rights, responsibilities and duties.

Whilst it is not a legal requirement for the agreement to be in writing we strongly recommend this is done at the time of engagement to prevent potentially costly and stressful situations arising in the future.

The very least an employer needs to provide an employee with is a written statement of employment clearly setting out the main terms of their employment. This must be given within the first two months of starting work with you. This document is legally binding to both the employer and employee.

WHAT SORT OF INFORMATION SHOULD YOUR CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT CONTAIN?

Below you will find a list of items to include but bear in mind your business may need to include other information.

  • The names of both the employer and employee
  • The contract start date
  • Probationary period
  • The job title and description (it is always recommended that this is supported by a detailed job specification)
  • Place and hours of work including holidays, sickness procedures and payment ( remembering that there is a legal limit on the maximum hours an employee can be asked to work without agreement)
  • Salary including any bonus payment, overtime etc
  • Benefits packages (pension, health cover etc.)
  • Severance periods and procedures
  • Grievance and disciplinary procedures (these may be referred to within the contract and either added as an addendum, notified of their availability or contained within the employee handbook
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Prior agreements
  • Other particulars of employment

WHAT ABOUT SELF EMPLOYED WORKERS OR COMPANIES OFFERING CONTRACT SERVICES?

A Service Contract or Consultants Agreement is different from a Contract of Employment. These are used for self employed workers or companies offering fixed services. The Service contract/Consultancy agreement sets out the terms under which the work is offered, the financial reward for such work and also includes other clauses protecting, for instance, the intellectual property of the Company and the confidentiality of any information that the person/company may gain knowledge of during the time of the contract.

For help on any aspect of Contracts of Employment please call us.

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