All employees will have a contract of employment, whether or not any terms are put in writing. However, having the agreement recorded in writing makes the obligations of both parties clear, and may help to avoid disputes down the line.
Employment contracts record the agreement between the employee and employer. They cannot, however, override the employee’s statutory employment rights such as your right to minimum wage, maternity pay, or the right to rest breaks. However, contracts can be used to provide more generous entitlements than the statutory minimum.
Contracts will be particularly important for more senior employees where you may wish to include additional benefits, or indeed additional obligations such as restrictive covenants which cannot be implied by law.
Contracts also help businesses to retain control and create harmony in the terms and conditions under which their staff work. For example, if a business does not specify a ‘holiday year’ in its contracts (or perhaps a staff handbook), each employee will have their own holiday year running from the anniversary of their start date. Clearly this would create administrative difficulties for even the smallest of businesses.
Employment law is ever-changing, evolving with new technology and even the political climate. This moving target can make it difficult for employers to know if they are compliant with their obligations. Allan Janes can review your contracts and ensure that they are up to date and compliant with current legislation.