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Employment Law - The Contract of Employment

Author: Joan Finch, J Finch & Associates Published: 14th May 2014 11:27

Contract of Employment scroll and quill mage 

Employment law is constantly changing and evolving, especially with companies looking at more efficient ways of working, in particular as to how they engage their workforce.  In addition, the government has recently concluded its consultation on zero hours contracts and, as detailed on https://www.gov.uk/ it is currently "analysing your feedback". 

So in this article we are going to take the opportunity to revisit some key principles of the contract of employment, which can also be known as the terms and conditions of employment or written particulars of employment.  For the purposes of this article we will call it a "contract of employment".

Why do we have a contract of employment?

A contract of employment is an agreement used within the workplace between employer and employee which sets the foundations of the employer–employee relationship.  This document defines the terms of the employment which set out the employee's statutory entitlements and in addition may include the employee’s behaviour that the employer expects within the workplace.

Contracts of employment can also prevent confusion over what may be believed to be an implied term of employment and terms which may have become custom and practice.

What is in a contract of employment?

A contract of employment can be as long or as short as required for your business, but it must be fit for purpose and must contain a number of statutory requirements, for example salary, hours of work, payment method, holiday entitlement, sick pay entitlement, notice period, etc.

In addition, there may be some clauses which are required to be within the contract, as they are fundamental to the way the business operates, for example overtime, company property, flexibility regarding locations of work, etc.

Finally, a company may wish to detail some expressed terms on the employee's behaviour, for example use of social media, smoking, and health and safety obligations.

The above is not exhaustive; however, it is important that the contract of employment is flexible, where possible to be so, that it works in line with the requirements of the business and that it is not too rigid to restrict a business from operating or being able to grow.

What happens if I do not have a contract of employment?

A contract of employment does not have to be in writing to be binding.  However, employees are entitled to receive the main terms in writing within two months of starting employment, for example terms concerning pay, payment method and holiday. 

If you employ staff, it is important that you have all the necessary contracts and policies in place to support and maintain the employment relationship, but it is equally important to have the policies in place to support your business growth or when things are not going quite as they should.  If you are in the process of dealing with disputes in the workplace or are concerned that your business may not have all the necessary contracts of employment and policies in place, or if you wish to ensure that your company is fully compliant and up to date when dealing with employee disputes and all other employment matters, please refer to our website and services available to support your business. 

Article by Joan Finch of J Finch & Associates Ltd

Thanks to Joan our AboutMyArea/EN9 editorial contributor for this informative article. Check out Employment Law section in the Business Zone to read more of her articles.

Joan is an award winning, highly experienced, commercial, self-motivated HR professional who has operated within the sectors of Retail, Hospitality and Catering, specialising in Employees Relations. Joan is now the proud owner and creator of J Finch & Associates Ltd.  Joan's career spans over 10 years, and has broad experience within Human Resources, with initially being a HR generalist covering all aspect of HR from Recruitment, learning and development, training, Employee Relations, redundancy, restructures and TUPE. Since 2008 she has specialised in Employee Relations applying a commercial and practical approach to all ER related issues.

You can have the opportunity of meeting Joan Finch, the author of this article, at the Harlow Business Exhibition Stand 94 at Harlow Leisure Zone on Tuesday 10th June 2014.

For more information on Human Resources, Employee Relationship and Employment Law issues you may like to take a look at J Finch & Associates website: http://www.jfinch.co.uk/

When contacting J Finch & Associates please let them know you found their details on AboutMyArea website!

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