Understanding Terms and Conditions of Employment

The following is an introductory guide to Terms and Conditions of Employment. This document is legally binding, it forms the terms of the employment relationship and therefore it is key to get right.

Q. What are Terms and Conditions of Employment?

They are a legally enforceable written agreement between employer and employee. They underpin, define and contain key information about the employment relationship. They are no different to any other contract that two parties might enter into.  The offer can be ‘unconditional’ or ‘conditional’, ie subject to (for example) references or checks.

Q. Why do we need them?

Terms and Conditions of Employment provide clarity for both parties. They protect each party if the other defaults and both parties are required to adhere to what the agreement states. Quite often apart from at the start of employment they are only referred to for clarity or when something goes wrong.

It is important they are well drafted for each individual. Terms and Conditions of Employment can be different depending upon the seniority of the person and the nature of the role.

It is also important that all Terms and Conditions of Employment are regularly reviewed and kept up to date, for example when there has been a legislative or role change.

Q. What information should they contain?

The principle statement should contain:

• name of employer and employee
• date employment and continuous employment started
• job location
• pay and whether it’s weekly, monthly pay etc
• working hours
• holiday entitlement
• job description/job title
• details of any collective agreements that directly affect the employee’s conditions of employment.

As well as the ‘principle statement’, an employer should also give a Written Statement of Particulars from day 1 of their start date, if not before. This should include the main conditions of employment, such as:

• if temporary, how long the job is expected to last
• the end date of a fixed-term contract
• notice periods
• collective agreements
• pensions
• how to raise a grievance
• how to complain about how a grievance is handled
• how to complain about a disciplinary or dismissal decision

 Q. What doesn’t need to be included?

The written statement doesn’t need to cover the following:

• sick pay and procedures
• disciplinary and dismissal procedures
• grievance procedures

These procedures should be contained elsewhere, such as the Staff Handbook, however, the Written Statement of Particulars should state where the information can be found.

In a following article, I will look at how to change or vary Terms and Conditions of Employment.

If you wish to discuss the Terms and Conditions of Employment that you currently have in place, or you wish to discuss how Hill HR Consultancy could provide any other HR Service to your business, please contact me on 07483 253984 or email at claire.hill@hillhr.co.uk