Contracts of Employment: 5 important tips

An important part of my role is advising on contracts of employment; whether it is reviewing and updating existing contracts or providing new  contracts.

What really pleases me is that employers recognise the importance of having contracts of employment in place and getting them right. Contracts of employment form the basis of the employment relationship so is the most important employment document you have.

So, I would like to share 5 important tips on contracts of employment. (Even if you don’t employ staff yet, please consider these tips for when you do.)

1. Don’t be tempted to use templates off the internet

The internet is full of useful information and this is no different for employment information. There are many different versions of contracts of employment available out there. Many of these can be downloaded and used for free. Just put your logo on the top, your employees name and address and hey presto you have a contract. STOP! The problem with downloading from the internet is that you don’t know how old the information is, you don’t know how credible it is and if it is appropriate for your business and your member of staff. Does it cover all the elements you require in the contract? And does it protect your business? For the sake of a few pounds, at least get it reviewed. I’d be happy to do this for you. Do not accept a template!

2. One size does not fit all!

The saying ‘one size fits all’ does not apply to contracts of employment. Yes of course you can create a template, but each contract must be individually written for the individual, the role they are undertaking, their seniority within the business and even the level of information they will have access to. For example, the contents of a contract of employment for a director will be very different to the contract of employment for an administrative or clerical role.

3. Check for correct employment status

Employment status has been a key topic in the news recently. The contract should truly reflect the correct status. There are different types of contracts; for example, permanent, fixed term, zero hours, annualised hours, contract for services and self-employed. Therefore, before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), ensure you know the type of contract you require.

4. Ensure the contract it is correct

Like any other contract, a contract of employment is a legally binding document. Once in place and accepted by both parties, it can be difficult, although not impossible, to change. Therefore, it is so important you get it right first time. The contract of employment is the cornerstone of the employment relationship so ensure it properly reflects the relationship going forward.

5. Add in employer flexibility

Make sure you allow some employer flexibility when drafting the contract. Consider including flexibility, mobility, variation and payment in lieu of notice clauses. And ensuring a non-contractual disciplinary procedure will be very helpful if it comes to terminating a contract.

For more information on contracts of employment, there are two useful blogs on my website – the first is Understanding Terms and Conditions of Employment; what are they and what needs to be included in them. The second blog focuses on Changing or varying contracts of employment ; how to do it and what happens when the two parties don’t agree.

If you would like to talk through your contracts or you need a contract for a member of your staff, please contact Hill HR.

I love helping and guiding businesses through the minefield of employment and HR. If you would like to chat about how I can help your business, give me a call on 07483 253984 or email me: claire.hill@hillhr.co.uk