A well drafted contract of employment, complemented by a suite of clear policies provides a relatively inexpensive investment in good staff relations. It will potentially save thousands of pounds in the long run as the business will be much better protected against employee compensation claims and the possibility of having to pay a settlement as part of a settlement agreement.
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A contract of employment should be carefully tailored so that the terms reflect the specific role within the business context and the employee clearly understands his or her obligations. When each party to the contract knows where each other stands, the risk of a costly dispute arising is significantly reduced.
Employment tribunals expect the modern employer to operate core policies covering discipline, grievances and equality and diversity as well as other policies relevant to the business.
Implementing an employment/staff handbook is now widely regarded as a basic necessity. It is harder for employers to defend claims on the basis that they acted ‘fairly’ or that they do not discriminate on grounds of sex, age, race, religion, etc. if they have not implemented and observed good employment practices.
Whilst it is necessary to have a well drafted contract of employment, it is also important to ensure that contracts of employment are regularly reviewed. This is especially the case when circumstances change, such as an employee being promoted, or there is a change to business operations. The contract will need to reflect an employee’s new role in a clear, concise, manner so that the chance of there being a dispute is minimised.
Employment Law is constantly being developed and updated by Parliament, the courts and tribunals. Thus, even a well drafted contract will need to be reviewed periodically and, as an employer, you will want to ensure that the employment contract adapts to reflect the requirements of the business as it is today rather than a snap-shot of how things were 5 or 10 years ago. A review will help make sure that the contract covers new legislation and policies, as well as changes to your business and the employer-employee relationship.
Well drafted contracts of employment and policies, tailored to your business, not only provide certainty in the employment relationship, they present a positive image of a slick and well run organisation in the eyes of regulators, potential investors and buyers. In order to make sure this important task is taken care of, speak to our employment solicitors for advice on getting your employment contracts right.
Contact our team on 0161 832 6131.