As soon as a person accepts your offer of a job, a contract will exist whether you intend it or not. However, you are legally required to give every employee a written statement of terms and conditions within two months of the commencement of employment.
If you fail to do this, the employee may then refer the matter to an Employment Tribunal who will decide what the terms and conditions of their employment are.The penalty for failing to provide a written statement of terms and conditions is either two or four weeks’ pay (capped at the maximum of £450.00 per week) unless there are exceptional extenuating circumstances.
Any contracts made should be checked by a qualified professional to make sure that the terms are relevant to the employee in question to avoid any risk of an Employment Tribunal inferring terms and conditions should any dispute arise.
What should an employment contract cover?
Terms you must include are as follows:
- Name of the employer and employee
- Date on which employment commences
- If the employee has previously worked for a company acquired by you, the date on which continuous employment commences
- How pay is calculated and when it will be paid
- Details of working hours
- Holiday entitlement and pay
- Brief description of work and job title
- Place of work
- Details of grievance, disciplinary and dismissal rules and procedures
All employers must give their employees written details of any disciplinary rules and procedures regardless of the size of the company. If you fail to follow the guidance set out by Acas for what is fair and reasonable in this matter, an Employment Tribunal may increase any award made against you by up to 25%.
Also in the written statement, or other readily available and accessible documents, must be details of any terms and conditions regarding sickness, injury and sick pay, pensions, notice period for dismissal and termination by the employee and employer, length of employment and any collective agreement which would directly affect employment.
What else should I consider for employment agreements?
When drafting your employment agreements, it is key to ensure that you establish certainty for both parties whilst retaining flexibility. You should consider avoiding a job description that is too detailed and consider including a statement which establishes that you reserve the right to add or amend the employee’s duties and place of work to suit the changing needs of your business.
For help on writing or drafting your employment agreement contract, contact JMR Solicitors for a professional, affordable and timely service.