All employees have contracts of employment whether they have been reduced to writing or not. It is far better for employers to set out the terms in writing. For a start there is a legal requirement to provide all employees with written particulars of the main terms of employment within 2 months of an employee starting in any event. Failure to do this gets an immediate “black mark” if an employer finds itself in Tribunal.
Further, if the Tribunal makes an award against the employer in respect of any other claim it will also make an award for failure to provide written particulars of employment. Also, it is worth an employer thinking about the terms of a contract up front and issuing the contract. This way there can be no argument about what the terms actually are and an employer can give careful thought to introducing terms which best protect its business.
One area worthy of particularly careful thought is that of post employment restrictions or restrictive covenants as they are often called. Businesses are vulnerable if a key employee leaves and joins a rival. Clauses can be carefully drafted setting out restrictions upon what an employee can do in such a scenario. Such clauses need thought as a Court will not simply enforce them, but will need to be convinced that they have been drafted narrowly to protect a company’s legitimate business interests and that they are not drafted more widely than necessary.
Other areas where employment contracts can provide enhanced protection include dealing with circumstances around termination, confidentiality and deductions from pay.
Written contracts can take many forms, varying from Service Agreements, often used for senior executives through to contracts for the lowest grade of employees, part-timers and those on zero hours contracts.
We are often asked to review and draft employment contracts. We are happy to give a fixed fee quote for undertaking such work.