Contract and Employee Handbook
Statement of terms
All employees must be given a ‘statement of terms’, which needs to contain certain information and which is the most basic of terms. This must be given to all employees within two months of their start date. Although failure to provide a statement of terms is not a ‘stand-alone’ claim, an employee can ask the tribunal to award two to four weeks’ pay for failure to provide this information if he or she is bringing another claim.
A contract of employment is different to a statement of terms, and there is no legal obligation to provide a ‘contract’ as such. Still, a contract can be useful to employers who want to protect their business and its interests. For example, a contract of employment can contain restrictive covenants which can prevent employees from taking clients with them when they leave, setting up a business in direct competition etc for a specified period following the end of their employment. Contracts of employment can also be drafted to contain other clauses to protect your business, for example allowing you to deduct money from your employee’s salary and allowing you to suspend employees or put them on garden leave, for example.
Free Contract Review
It is important for employers to have policies and procedures in place for their employees. Whilst there are some policies and procedures that will apply to all businesses, the policies that you need will depend on the type of business that you are running. Examples of policies which most businesses should have include disciplinary and grievance policies and procedures, maternity / paternity / adoption policies, an equal opportunities policy, attendance policy, email and internet use / social media policies.
Whether or not a policy forms part of an employee’s contract will depend on how the policy is worded. It is better for an employer if the policies and procedures / handbook do not form part of the contract – the business will develop over time and so the policies and procedures will need to be updated. If the policies and procedures form part of an employee’s contract then it will be substantially more difficult to amend them.
It is therefore important to take advice not only at the outset when preparing the handbook, but also on a continuing basis, particularly when considering whether to make amendments to any policies and procedures.
We offer various options for employers looking to prepare, update or amend their employment contracts, including :
- Fixed-fee contracts / handbooks
- Our employment law protection scheme – an annual retainer which includes an annual contract review, day-to-day legal assistance and an insurance element to cover our fees in the event an employee brings a claim.